14 Pieces of Advice For a New Nurse

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Remember the good old days --fresh out of nursing school, new job, new shift, new hospital. Actually good old days might be stretching it a bit since being a new nurse usually comes with a ton of questions, insecurities, and way too many firsts. First Code Brown, anyone? So the big question is what do you wish you knew then that you know now?


In that spirit, we present to you 14 pieces of advice for a new nurse!



Always have an extra pair of scrubs in your locker.



Rubbing alcohol will get almost any odor out of fabric. Shaving cream will get almost any odor off of skin.



There is no getting tincture of Benzoin off of anything.



If the post-op nurse turns a patient over to you with the assurance that he will be “easy-peasey,” disaster lurks around the corner.



The proper response to your digital thermometer reading “HI” is not “Heeeeeyyyy!”



Blood is not the worst thing that can get on your scrubs.



The amount of poop a patient produces is inversely proportional to her level of consciousness.



Fire, code or disaster drills will never happen in the middle of a calm day.



The number of obscure drug allergies a patient has is inversely proportional to his grasp on reality.



Little old ladies in no acute distress are much stronger than you imagine. Be careful.



If it can be torn off, braided into knots, knocked over, pulled out, wrapped around something vital or otherwise jacked up, a sedated patient with a severe head injury will do it.



If your lunch is particularly delicious, you will have no chance to eat it.



Caffeine is a food group of its own.



And finally, the number one rule of nursing that I want to share with every new nurse:


If you have to jack with it, it’s wrong. Anything that requires immense amounts of skull sweat to figure out is wrong somewhere. Back off, get a second opinion and for God’s sake stop messing with it. The longer you fool with it, whatever it is (drug calculation, foot pump or IV bolus), the more messed up it’ll get. Stop immediately and figure out where it’s wrong, then proceed.


How'd we do?  Please add your advice for a new nurse in the comments section below.


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A Nursing Student’s Christmas List

Dear Santa. I’ve been super good this year. I went to all my classes, and even when I was going to skip that one Family Nursing...

How Has Nursing Changed Since Your First Day On The Job?

We can all agree that a lot has changed in the past 30 years. We’ve seen the fall of the Berlin Wall, the invention...

Wearable Devices: Useful Medical Insights Or Just More Data?

Do you track your steps with a FitBit or monitor your heart rate with an Apple Watch? Wearable devices are increasingly bought to track and...