A new nurse faces a formidable set of challenges when walking onto their first job. Sadly, nursing schools do not truly prepare the new nurse for the shock of caring for patients and the responsibility that goes with it.
A new nurse may have excellent preparation on a theoretical level, but this is a far cry from the daily grind of patient care. Having to learn the complex daily routines of a floor or specialty care unit, along with numerous drugs used, dealing with family members, and problem-solving can overwhelm a new nurse.
So, how to cope? First, take a deep breath. Be ready to make mistakes, because you will. Forgive yourself. Try to limit mistakes, and not repeat them. But do realize you are human and have realistic expectations for yourself.
Next, try to emulate those nurses you find to be efficient and effective. Ask questions. Offer to assist them, so you can learn by watching and doing. Hopefully you are given a preceptor who is used to working with new nurses. It helps to have someone who is experienced as a trainer, and who is patient. Overly-harsh nurse trainers only help to blow potentially good future nurses right out of the field. If you find yourself with such, do not be afraid to ask your nurse manager for a change in preceptors.
Organize! Get experienced nurses to help you compile a list of what you do daily, and in what order. When you first come on duty, what do you need to do? Make a list: 1. Take report. 2. Assess patients. 3. Check for new orders. 4. etc. etc. You should include all daily activities, and set a level of precedence for them. Making a med list, with times for each patient to get their meds, is an example of particular items to have in hand. You will want a sheet which lets you check off what was given to whom, and when. Such worksheets should be as concise and simple to use as possible. Many units, or individual nurses in the unit, already have very good...