Will Hardy over at Drawing on Experience wanted advice for new grads. My two cents.
Learning never ends.
Learn by doing.
See one, do one, teach one.
Pay attention when a patient complains of imminent death.
Go to codes.
Never pass up the opportunity to see a procedure.
Not everything can be fixed.
Patients die unexpectedly for reasons unrelated to the quality of your care.
Don’t think you know more than you do. You don’t.
Ask for help.
More importantly, know when you must ask questions.
If you still don’t understand, ask more questions.
Advocate. For your patients. For your profession. For yourself.
Critical thinking is not optional.
Bedbaths are an essential skill, even for RNs.
Chart. Then chart some more.
Read Notes on Nursing.
Walk before running. Basic nursing before Swan-Ganz catheters.
Listen. Carefully. When someone offers you a piece of chewing gum, you’re not thinking your breath stinks, right?
Wash your hands.
Foley catheters are not a substitute for good nursing.
Housekeepers and ward clerks are your best friends. Treat them as such.
Your most recent assessment is the most important one.
Find a mentor.
Sixth sense counts. Ignore it at your peril.
Five rights. Three checks. Always and forever. No exceptions. Ever. Amen.
If you’re giving more than two of anything — tablets, capsules, vials — you’re giving too much.
If your colleague is drowning, throw her a life ring.
Specialize in a skill. Be the go-to guy for hard IV starts.
Make it your rule: take no shit from anyone.
Feel free to add your own: I’ll make a page for them.
[Update: Will’s cartoon added]