The transition from student into nurse can be an overwhelming one for even the most prepared new nurse. Well-seasoned nurses may want to stay far away from the new nurse for a variety of reasons.
One is because new nurses turn over so much that they don’t want to sink their hopes into someone who won’t stick around. Another is that some new nurses may think that they deserve help to get their assignments done.
Of course, no assumptions like these are true of every new nurse, and they aren’t even true of most new nurses. The fact is that well-seasoned and new nurses are stressed to the max.
The veterans on the floor can do a lot to help new nurses adjust, making everyone less stressed.
Be Available for Questions
New nurses always have questions, and sometimes they can be about basic things. Even if you are a relatively new nurse yourself, you can help someone even newer get through a shift.
True, it isn’t a well-seasoned nurse’s responsibility to answer all of a new grad’s questions, but it would go a long way toward helping them to be a contributing member of the team. In the end, it is all about the patient, and you are helping the newer nurse’s patient by helping the nurse themselves.
The last item to consider about questions is that they don’t often take a great deal of time to answer. Usually the question is simple and easy to clarify, and the new nurse can be on their way to apply the knowledge you gave them.
Help When You Can
Nearly all nurses – new or veteran – can barely tread water during their shifts. It’s great to have an extra set of hands, but that isn’t always possible.
However, it is discouraging for someone drowning to see others sitting and relaxing at the station. One practice that is particularly discouraging is refusing to help a new nurse until you are sure they are able to take care of their assignment with no help.
This can lead to resentment and anger among nurses. How are new nurses supposed to learn if they aren’t given a helping hand from the start? It may seem counterintuitive, but by helping them you give them the confidence to work on their time management skills instead of becoming a leech.
Check In from Time to Time
Sometimes new nurses can feel sad, isolated, and overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. Even if you’re unable to answer their questions or help them when they are drowning, you can ask how they are doing from time to time.
Just asking gives the new nurse somebody to open up to, and they will understand that they aren’t alone in their struggles with nursing. While it is true their preceptor will be aware of this, we all know that overwhelming feelings often last far longer than the orientation period.
In other words, be a friend to new nurses. It doesn’t take a great deal of time to be nice, to ask how they are doing, or to provide a sympathetic ear. We all remember what it is like to be that new, and well-seasoned nurses can help matters by easing the pain for someone else.