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At some point and time even the most seasoned nurse was a new nurse. They too were bright eyed, anxious, excited, and scared to death they were going to mess it all up. I recently asked on Facebook for one piece of advice for new nurses. The response was so great that it just had to be turned into a blog post. So without further adieu..

At some point and time even the most seasoned nurse was a new nurse. Seasoned nurses also give excellent advice to the new nurse.

Advice for a New Nurse

What is one piece of advice you would give to a new nurse?


Learn how to think critically. WHY is my patient in the hospital with a COPD exacerbation? What does that mean for their oxygen therapy? Why am I giving them these meds. What are some problems I should watch for?

I feel like being able to connect concepts, understand why, asking lots of questions will make it all come together for a new nurse! Don’t just look at your day as a bunch of tasks! ~Rachel

I love the advice to not ever be afraid to ask questions!

Ask the question, don’t be to intimidated to say that you don’t know something, and call out every “seasoned” nurse that tries to make you feel bad for not knowing something, most often they will shut up and never try to bully you again if you call them on it. ~Nikki

It’s okay to cry. Some days you will feel completely incompetent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Always listen to your patients. Always show compassion. Always know your resources. Listen and help your aides, but don’t be afraid to delegate. You will make mistakes and that’s okay, as long as you learn from them. ~Amanda

Remember that nursing school gives you the basics. The first couple of years you are going to feel like you know very little. As a nurse you are a life long student. Don’t quit asking questions or participating in new experiences. Everybody starts like this. ~Valerie

It’s OK to question something that comes from the mouth of a seasoned nurse….the answer “because that’s how we do it here” should not be a satisfactory answer, there should be a why and a how and a proper backup to the answer.
It’s ok to ask for a policy and procedure handout, it’s not that your questioning their ability, it’s that you want to be rest assured your doing it as it’s expected.

When working with a someone you’ve never oriented with ask them “what do you expect of me today?” I’ve worked with XYZ and I’ve done this and that, but I’d like to know what your expectations are of me today?” ~Amanda

Above all else, stick with it!

The first year is the hardest. Sleep well, take care of yourself, talk to your manager about your stresses or other nurses. They can help you put your mind at ease. Ask to be next to a seasoned nurse who likes to help. One day it all just clicks! ~Chrissy

Prioritize your care and stick to it. You will have many people demanding your time, energy, attention–but only you know what is the highest priority in your patient assignment. If you’re being pulled in a million directions, take a minute to re-prioritize your care. Let people know that you are aware of their needs and have made a plan for meeting them. ~Kip

Don’t give up! You will have days when you leave in tears, but never ever give up! ~Jen



And we all need practical advice from time to time!

Find humor in every work day, or you will be ever searching for the wine…… ~Debi

Among all the politics, targets, impossible expectations from management, remember what matters…patients. ~Sally

Always chart in real time whenever you can! ~Erin

Wear compression socks.
~Kim

Invest in a great pair of shoes ???? ~Jessica

Work with others, not against them!

A good CNA is worth more than their weight in gold. Remember that. Show them that you respect and appreciate what they bring to the table. The CNAs I worked with as a new nurse were some of my greatest teachers. ~Nikki

Be good to your staff…. Everyone, housekeepers, kitchen and especially your CNAs!!! ~Karen

Don’t ever forget how you felt being the new nurse.

Don’t forget this feeling. Nurses tend to develop a superiority complex over the years. Never forget where you started and how it felt. ~Tiana

And finally:

Go pee!!! Seriously, make it a habit, part of your time management. Take the time to go to the bathroom, hydrate and take a lunch. You can’t take care of your patients if you don’t also take care of yourself. If anything a bathroom break can be a couple minute re-prioritization break! ~Courtney

Be humble and teachable and never forget the power of compassion and a gentle touch. ~Kelly

What is one piece of advice that you would offer to a new nurse?

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