1. Losing your Tact. Some nurses lose their ability to be polite! They become rough around the edges. They get used to being an authority figure in their workplace and communication suffers. There is a strength in being assertive, straight to the point, or even brutally honest – but these should all be used in the right time and setting – not indiscriminately.
2. Excessive Phone Use. This one for obvious reasons. It’s always one quick look, one quick text, or even a quick phone call. Those add up!
3. Distrusting Everyone. Some nurses stop giving patients the benefit of the doubt. They disbelieve patients based on labels and even stigmas. They stop believing anything the ‘drug-seeking’ patients say. They stop listening to the claims and complaints from patients with dementia. Family members have hidden agendas. A hardened nurse…does not have to be a jaded one!
4. Forgetting Introductions. This isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but still something to be aware of! We start seeing so many patients, and get so used to having new ones, that we just walk in and start working, assessing, giving orders, and asking questions, while everyone is thinking “who are you again?”
5. Overconfidence. This is a universal bad habit, but particularly dangerous when you’re a nurse. Just because you’ve administered something a hundred times before, doesn’t mean something won’t happen that 101st time. Just because that patient has been on the same medication for years, doesn’t mean the order might have changed while you were away. Getting used to things can be great, and make your work faster – but it can also cause you to forget to pay attention!
6. Getting a Quick Fix. No, I don’t mean stealing drugs (that would be worse than just a bad habit!). I mean, eating junk food. It’s way too easy to stop by the vending machine and get a chips, soda, or juice, guzzle it down, and keep working. It just hits the spot! But just remember once in a while to sit down to a real meal!
7. Coming to Work Tired. This is half bad habit and half bad decision-making. I’ve known nurses who talk about the late-night parties they’ve had before coming in the morning, doing back-to-back doubles to pay for a vacation, or even just having too much on your plate when it comes to school, family and work. A work-life-play balance is necessary when your job has responsibility – you gotta be on your A-game!
Kevin is President of Brilliant Nurse, a modern NCLEX prep company that teaches Live Online courses in a pay-as-you-go format.
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