Thursday, May 12, 2011

22 things I learned in my first year as an RN...

1. something all new doctors and nurses learn fairly quickly.. it's a universal law in hospitals... never ever EVER say "slow" in a hospital.. or "quiet"... or "calm".

2. do not ever say "I don't know what day shift was talking about, he hasn't had a bowel movement all night" because within an hour you will be engulfed by poo...

3. it is ok to cry after your patient dies.

4. a wall suction canister works great to drain your Foley bag, especially if you need to walk any distance to dump it and don't want to wear urine on the front of your scrubs.

5. there is no "I" in nursing unless you are trying to win a spelling bee.

6. the opposing shift is not your enemy (see #5).

7. it is ok to say "I don't know" and usually if you are willing to ask you can find someone who does. always always always put patient safety before your ego.

8. charting is very very very important.

9. 'real world' nursing is SO not like Grey's Anatomy or ER. believe it or not, we do NOT have sex in the breakroom, in fact we are too tired from working hard to do anything but eat, pee, and sleep during our breaks in the breakroom.

10. we as medical professionals often get so used to being elbow deep in other people's body fluids that we forget that our friends and families might not want to discuss stomach contents, rectal tubes, sputum samples, or spurting arteries over dinner.

11. always always assume your sedated patient can hear you. also always assume your brain damaged patient can hear you. ALWAYS treat ALL of your patient with respect.

12. do not ever let a patient die alone.

13. Vicks Vapor Rub under your nose works great to help with not-so-yummy odors. So does putting a tea bag in your mask before you put it on.

14. it is entirely normal to hear ventilator, tele, bed, and IV pump alarms in your sleep during your entire first year as a nurse.

15. use good lotion to keep your hands from getting too dry from all of the alcohol antiseptics we have around.

16. a good stethoscope and comfortable shoes and scrubs are worth their weight in gold.

17. ask for help (see #5).

18. if you are caught up ask your coworkers if they need help (see #5).

19. when you have an opportunity to learn something new, take it. (see #5)

20. when you have an opportunity to teach something new, take it. (see #5)

21. if you clean your stethoscope with a bleach wipe after using it on a patient with c.diff make SURE you let it dry before you put it around your neck again... and after you've accidentally bleached your scrubs once or twice you'll never forget again.

22. nursing is an art, science, way of life, and a privilege. HAPPY NURSES WEEK!