A quick update on me: After hearing the Navy wasn’t given permission to hire anyone I began a tough job search which ended up with my applying all over the country as well as Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Finally I accepted a position in Savannah, GA on an Ortho/Trauma?Step-Down/Joint/Med-Surg unit. Yes, it’s a mouthful but it is one heck of a place to learn. That’s what I want to share with you today.
If there is one piece of advice I have for new-grads, or any nurse really, is to get organized at work. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but you need to do it. I was told this from day one in orientation, and then again from every single one of my many preceptors (another tale for later). I first tried the organization system I had used back in my senior year practicum and realized quickly it wasn’t going to work for me. I didn’t have time in the mornings to set it up the way I needed it to be effective. Plus with a high turn-over rate it was impractical.
I started observing my preceptors and how they organized their shifts. Some used the printouts of orders, some used a three-ring binder with dividers and pockets for each patient, some used handwritten timelines. I knew right off the bat the three-ring binder wouldn’t work and neither would using just the order sheets. In the end of the day I came up with a single sheet of paper allowing me spots for 8 total patients (yes, it is possible for me to end up with that many different patients in one day because of our turnaround). I was also able to list everything that I needed to chart on every shift and add unique things about each patient. As you can see from the example from one of my shifts I cross-out or check each item as they are completed. The top next to the room number I put important information needed at a glance like they’re on a telemetry monitor, have a foley, or a fluid restriction. I also list their fluids and their fluid rate if appropriate. Another key point? Make sure you write it down. Your patient wants a bath in an hour and you need to unhook their IV? Write it down. The doctor wants you to take their foley out and says it as he’s running out the door? Write it down. Nothing is too small to be written down.
My system works for me, but it took some trial and error to get it exactly how I liked it. My suggestion is for you to try a couple things and see what you like. Then when you get to your floor see if that continues to work – if not, try something new. The bottom line is: get organized and stay organized it will make your shifts run smoother and will help an already over-crowded brain to remember all the important things it needs to.