How to Help the Even Newer Nurses!

May 17, 2014 in Nursing School, On the Job

Nursing is a work of loveHi all you new grad nurses!  So we’re all familiar with the ABCDE’s of the primary assessment.  I now aim to give you the ABCDE’s of helping the nurses that are even newer than you are.  Of course, these tips can also be applied to nursing students that may have their clinical rotation or preceptorship on your unit or sometimes to float nurses as well.

A Always Ask! – You know how helpful it was for you when you were just out of the gate when more experienced nurses checked in on you and asked what they could do for you.  Or maybe that wasn’t your experience but you wished it was!  Even if the newer nurses don’t need anything from you at the moment, at least asking will let the new nurse or nursing student know that someone is watching out for them and that they have someone to whom they can turn if they have an issue or question.

B Be a good tour guide – Be proactive and show them the unit essentials: the med room, the clean supply room, the soiled utility room, the codes they may need, the nurses station, and the break room.  Also introduce the new nurses to those who are available to help and to answer questions; teach them how to get in touch with their resources.  If you both have time, give a tour of other departments or areas of the hospital with which they will need to be familiar depending on the unit where you work such as radiology, pre-op department, main help desk, etc.

C Check your policies and protocols – Cover yourself, your patients, your colleagues, and the organization for which you work by checking the policies, procedures, and protocols related to capabilities of the nursing student or new nurse specific to your organization.  This step is particularly important for and pertinent to nursing students as they are not employees of your organization and operating under the license of another registered nurse.  Knowing what both nursing students and what new nurses are allowed to do and what each is prohibited from doing protects everyone involved.

D Duplicate! – Repeat the learning techniques that you had found to be most helpful when you were on orientation.  Throughout my clinical rotations I was the recipient of a variety of education techniques.  For example, various nurses would quiz my knowledge and supplement it; others would show me the resources on the unit to look up that which I did not yet know; and still others would take me through their thought processes in order to show how a nurse operated throughout the duration of a shift.

E Expose! – Think back to your clinicals.  Didn’t you love and appreciate it when the unit nurses or your instructor pulled you in to see a procedure or a case that you’ve never seen before?  Didn’t it open your eyes and provide a prime learning opportunity?  Now you have the chance to do that for your newer staff and students .  If you have a particularly interesting or unique case or need to complete a nursing task that new nurses would benefit from observing or performing, invite them! The earlier and more often the new nurses are exposed to new things, the quicker they are able to learn and the sooner it can become not so new.

We all remember how difficult and overwhelming it can be when you are just starting out since for a lot of us, it was only a short time ago.  So the more we are able to help the newer nurses, the more we contribute to improving the profession of nursing as a whole.  If any of you have been fortunate enough to have welcomed nursing students or newer nurses already and have anything to add that helped you help them, please feel free to leave those tips in the comments so that many generations of future nurses may benefit.

Nursing love <3