When you land your first job as a nurse, your nurse training will begin on day one of orientation. The philosophy is if a hospital hires you and takes on the responsibility of training a new nurse, the hospital will want to train you in their methods and procedures.
The first day covers mostly human resource information. Subsequent days will cover infection control, rapid response methods, wound prevention and care and fall prevention. Some hospitals will provide nurses with a review of telemetry assessments. All of this is to make sure you understand the hospital's expectations of their staff.
Welcome to the Floor
When you arrive for your first day on your assigned floor, you'll receive the tour, be assigned passwords and keys and find out who your preceptor will be. Your preceptor is an experienced nurse that will be responsible for training you for the next four to six weeks. You will work alongside him or her and be supervised while performing all aspects of patient care. This is where your nurse training truly begins. Some hospitals provide a list of benchmarks, skills you must perform a number of times, in order to be qualified to perform the work on your own. Benchmark examples would be IV insertions, sterile dressing changes and Foley catheter insertion. The more benchmarks you achieve, the closer you will be to working independently.
Your preceptor will also instruct you and provide tips on time management
. A nurse on a busy medical/surgical floor will be extremely busy. The key to making it to the end of the shift with all the medications passed, dressings changed and new orders executed will be how well you can manage your time.
How to Survive the First Weeks
The key to surviving these first few weeks on the floor is to be humble. Prior to performing any task, review the method you learned in nursing school with your preceptor to ensure you're following hospital policy. Above all else, ask for help. Remember, you now have someone's life in your hands and the patient relies on your expertise to make sure they come through unscathed. Nurses have journals and magazines you can refer to in order to keep your spirits up such as this article in Scrubs.
While the article has some funny lessons, there are also serious ones to consider.
Your training as a nurse does not stop when you graduate from school. Throughout your nursing career, you will have the opportunity to expand your nursing knowledge and learn new techniques each day. Take advantage of these opportunities as they arise to become a well rounded, experienced nurse.
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