Notes on Nursing

Just a few random thoughts on nursing….

1. Don’t make snap judgments. If you tell me in report that our patient is an asshole, I’m going to think twice before I believe you. It’s not that I think you’re a liar, but maybe YOU are having a shitty day. Chances are I’ll walk in to meet the patient, and we’ll get along swimmingly. Happens all the time.

2. Trust your gut. We all hear this in nursing school, or from others, but do it. Do it. If you have a ‘feeling’ about a patient, follow up on it. Better to have egg on your face than straddle that patient later performing compressions.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good nurse will ask someone for their opinion or to double-check a medication. There really is no such thing as a stupid question. I bet your patients would agree, too.

4. Treat your nursing assistants with respect. Please, fellow nurses, don’t give us a bad name. Don’t be jerks to the people who are best-suited to help you more than anyone else. If you’re working with a lazy-ass, by all means feel free to call them out, but if you’re working with a nurses’ aide who is busting their ass to help YOU, don’t bite the hand that also wipes your patient’s ass. Bad nursing.

5. Be organized. Don’t leave your shit all over the unit. Keep your notes with you. In your pocket. Ever hear of HIPAA? Don’t leave computers open, either. All it takes is one pair of nosy eyes to get YOU and the whole unit/hospital in trouble.

6. Offer to help your coworkers. Just do it. Don’t bitch. If your coworker has a huge Code Brown, trust me, the next time you have one, he/she will be the first one to come to your aid.

7. Talk TO your patient, not AT your patient. Make eye contact. Take a deep breath. Have a conversation with them. Engage patients as people, since that’s precisely what they are, not just ‘assignments’ for the staff. I know it’s not always easy, especially that grumpy old man, or bitchy old woman that we have all encountered, but at the very least be polite.

8. Use common sense. No explanation necessary. Use it.

9. Be open to change. Nursing is a dynamic career, whether you like it or not. Things WILL change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. The sooner you realize that things won’t always remain the same, the better.

10. Smile. Even when you’re having one of those days, smile and remember: it’s one shift, and then you get to go home.


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