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Fresh Tips on Being a New Nurse

From Shelbi Smith, BSN, RN, CCRN

1. There is both a time to be serious and a time to not be. It will take time to know the difference, however, know the difference. The ability to have fun with your patient(s) is paramount. You have to be able to laugh at many different times, especially in times of vulnerability.

2. Its OK to cry in front of patients and family. It humanizes us when everything else seems broken and unfair. That being said, you still have to be able to support the patient and family.

3. The simple act of a bath and a shave goes a long way. Help patients brush their teeth. Comb their hair. There is a lot to be said when we take care of our selves and feel clean. The same resides among our patients. When you give a bath, change the sheets and all the pillowcases. Give them fresh water if they can have it. These simple and kind acts are the basics of our care.

4. The best compliment I ever received included the time in which I restored dignity to a patient, during a time when there was little to be had. Our patients are people. They are scared and vulnerable and their modesty has been taken away. The smallest things can make them feel better.

5. There's a reason why we are the most trusted profession. Be honest and have integrity. No one expects perfection, you are human. We all make mistakes and errors. Be honest about them, own up to them and don’t shift the blame.

Shelbi Smith is a registered nurse currently pursuing her CRNA.

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