Unwritten Rules of Nursing. In this episode, we are discussing the rules of nursing that are not found in your textbooks. What’s cool, what’s not cool, and how to be an awesome teammate right out of nursing school. #FreshRN #podcast #FreshRNpodcasts #shownotes #nurses #nurse #nurserules #nursetips

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Who You’ll Hear

Kati Kleber, MSN RN – Nurse educator, former cardiac med-surg/stepdown and neurocritical care nurse, author, and speaker.

Elizabeth Mills, BSN RN CCRN – highly experienced neurocritical care nurse, current Stroke Navigator for a Primary Stroke Center

Melissa Stafford, BSN RN CCRN SCRN – highly experienced and currently practicing nationally certified neurocritical care nurse.

What You’ll Learn

  • Potluck Rules
  • Drips
  • Before Breaks
  • Handle the Business End
  • Leaving the floor
  • Cleaning Up
  • Phones

Don’t bring something lame to the potluck! It’s something fun and an opportunity for team bonding. Participate by bringing something yummy that required at least a small amount of effort. It shows you care! 

Don’t leave your drips dry.

  • This is a no brainer for vasoactive drugs, but is true even for maintenance fluids. 
  • Make sure you are leaving at least an hour’s worth of fluid in all your running infusions. 
  • If you are doing report and an IV pump is beeping because it’s empty, as the offgoing nurse it is cool to change it before you go. If you are the oncoming nurse, this is a situation where it is OK to request that the offgoing nurse does this before they go. 
  • Establish the habit early on to check all your drips during the last hour of your shift.

If you are all caught up, ask others if they need help before going on a break. 

  • Within reason, check with those around you to make sure no one is drowning before you step off the unit. 
  • And! Don’t be upset when they take you up on the help you are offering. 
  • This can be a delicate balance: if you finally have five minutes to breathe after running your butt off for three hours straight, go take that five minutes. Take care of yourself.

If you need assistance with a messy job, you should handle the business end of that situation. 

  • The first turn of incontinence care is usually the dirtiest. Take the role of cleaning that side so the person you asked for help just has to do the finishing touches during the second turn. 

Don’t leave the unit without telling those around you (your CNAs, pod partner, charge nurse, etc.).

  • You need to provide some sort of abbreviated handoff of your patients, including any safety concerns.
  • Examples:
    • “My patient in 13 has dementia and is a fall risk, his bed alarm is very real.”
    • “I just gave my patient in 6 pain meds, they have nothing else available until after I’ll be back.” 
    • “My patient in 7 has a chest tube to wall suction, but it can go to water seal if he needs to use the bathroom.” 

Don’t leave patients’ rooms a mess!

  • Clean up after yourself. Preferably clean up as you work throughout the day, but definitely tidy up before shift change. 
  • A messy room can appear disorganized and unprofessional to the patient and their family. 
  • Remove patient meal trays before the next one is delivered! This also helps with accurate documentation of intake.

Phones, phones, phones.

  • Being on your cell phone looks unprofessional, and gives the appearance that you are not focused on patient care. 
  • Patients are sick and families are worried. Being on your phone while working is disrespectful to the experience of the patients and family members. 
  • ***Especially*** when you are new to the unit, do not have your phone out. Now you are communicating to your coworkers that you are unprofessional, disrespectful, disengaged, etc. 

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