How to Train a New Nurse

There is nothing more life changing for a new nurse than the orientation experience. It is often their first time on the floor, and certainly their first time as a registered nurse.

Many experienced nurses are called upon to train these new nurses, and it can be a difficult experience if you aren’t prepared. Teaching is difficult work, and that is what preceptors are.

However, you can learn to precept to the best of your ability if you work at it and accept the limitations of you and your charge. Some nurses don’t like having a trainee, but volunteering for this important process helps get better nurses to the floor.

Be Kind

Nine out of ten new nurses agree that kindness is the number one way to help them learn. Well, there wasn’t exactly a study for that, but it is true.

Kindness is the number one factor in helping a nurse to learn. If you are mean or harsh, it can severely impact a new nurse’s confidence.

The lack of kindness usually leads to a feeling of bullying, and this nurse will feel like they can’t do the job. Look: you need new nurses on the floor to help you take care of patients.

Being harsh with a new nurse may make them run for the hills. If you want to help your floor and to help yourself, be kind when training a new nurse.

Beware of a Lack of Chemistry

Some people just don’t get along, no matter how kind you are. This is a primary lack of chemistry, and it won’t help you or your trainee get very far.

You should probably speak to the person in charge of education for your floor or your manager. Explain that you just don’t think that you and your trainee are clicking.

In theory, they should understand and switch to a different preceptor, but they may not. They may call you both to the office to “resolve your differences.”

In this case, you may need to muscle through, but try to explain that you don’t have a problem with the new nurse. You just feel that they would learn better with someone else.

Brush Up on your Basic Skills

New nurses know basic skills, and so should you. It is easy to forget basics, like how to check a manual blood pressure, do a blood sugar, or perform a complete assessment.

When you have a new nurse, you are the expert, and sometimes it is easy to forget that. In your practice, you may skip steps that you already know are true.

For instance, you may do a focused assessment instead of a full one. However, new nurses aren’t at that level yet, and you need to show them the textbook ways of doing things.

Brush up on the basics that are important for your floor, and make sure you are an expert. This will make your new nurse an expert, and they will be a much better nurse for your floor.

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