Surviving the first year of being a new RN

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    Leanne RN

    I started working on a telemetry unit in a large respected hospital in my area. I’m a brand new nurse. I’ve been off orientation a little over a month. I feel as though I still struggle with prioritizing and organizing. I also find it difficult to trust my own clinical judgment. Any advice for a new nurse is appreciated!


    My first hospital job as a new grad was on a busy tele floor in a big hospital. Looking back, I am SO thankful that I didn’t kill anyone. A large tele unit is one of the hardest places to work, IMHO, because the patients are all sicker than you will find in smaller hospital ICUs, but you have five (or so) of them instead of one or two. Study, study, study. Every shift I would write down the names of all of the drugs I gave that shift and all of the diagnosis I encountered, and between shifts I would read my reference books on all of them. Yes, so drugs I gave frequently, so I would read about that drug frequently, until I actually knew it forwards and backwards. Others, those I didn’t give as often, or see as often, i would read about them and learn more details, which really helped me the next time I seen something similar.

    Ask questions … everyone is going to be really busy, but find someone willing to mentor you. Google is your friend, but you will be doing a lot of things for the first time, so talk through the steps with someone before going in if you aren’t sure about it. Good luck.

    Alysyn R

    I also started on a tele floor. Now a little over a year later I can say I finally got the hang of things. The best advice I can give you is to always be mindful of your basics: vital signs and your ABC’s. My perceptor once told me if I can atleast tell when there is something wrong everything else will come with time. You have to go with your gut. I also would make it a point to casually let the Drs know I was a new nurse. I found some of them actually gave me a little extra slack when I would call them multiple times in a shift just because I was worried about my patient. Lastly, you can never ask too many questions. Your fellow floor nurses are your biggest resource. Ask away! Good luck! Stick with it!

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