Posts Tagged 'nurse marge'
Dear Nurse Marge,
Did you know that nursing school is far more amazing than it was when *we* went? They provide a much better education than anything we older nurses had access to – and surely there’s nothing to be said for decades of real world experience!
Do you have any words of wisdom for dealing with know-it-all new grads? We seem to be blessed with a particularly “brainy” bunch this time around. I have to admit that they’re driving me crazy. Every nursing intervention I’ve come up with myself is sure to get me in trouble!
What Do I Know
30 Year RN
Dear What Do I Know,
I know this advice is going to be controversial. Some people are going to hate what I have to say. I’ve seen nurses battle over this very topic for hours. There have been internet flamewars that can be seen from space, all fired up over my next bit of advice. But if you want words of wisdom for dealing with know it all new grads, it’s this:
I don’t care if it’s Doublemint or Juicy Fruit or Orbitz or even old school Hubba Bubba. Any flavor will work. But when new grad season hits, every nurse with more than 15 years experience needs a pack of gum in their pockets, readily available. Pick your favorite. Be prepared.
And when that know-it-all-new-grad leaves you needing to bite your tongue, chew a piece of gum instead. Every one of us was a new grad once, even if it was a really long time ago…and I’m sure that I caused at least a few sore tongues myself!
In time, experience will work its magic, just like it did on you and me. Know-it-all-nurses become nurses who know what it’s important to know – everything, that is, except for how to deal with the *next* generation of know-it-all-nurses. For that, you need experience.
Dear Nurse Marge,
Most of the nurses I work with can’t wait to get out of work when the day is done – if you’re standing in their way once they’re finished giving report, look out because you’re going to get run over! But there’s one nurse, we’ll call here Chatty Cathy, who just does not want to go home.
And I get it, because she’s got a loser husband at home who doesn’t do anything besides complain, a teenage son who dropped out of school and won’t get a job, and two twin daughters who are the terror of the high school – when they can be bothered to go.
How do I know all of this? Because Chatty Cathy tells me all of it, in long and excruciating detail. The best part is that she does this DURING report, woven in between details about new admissions and medication changes and the thirty seven things management wants done differently today. By the time she’s done, I’m already late getting started, and I feel like I spend the entire shift ‘catching up’ – even though I’m getting to work on time. Even early.
What do I do about Chatty Cathy? I can’t blame her for not wanting to go home. I wouldn’t want to go either! But she’s messing up my day and it’s making me nuts.
Not My Problem!
Dear Not My Problem,
Chatty Cathy might not want to go home, but she doesn’t need to screw up your day, either. The trick is to give her a third option: something that she wants to do, that’s fun, that encourages her to give you report quickly and get her out of your hair and onto happiness.
Maybe you could suggest some of these things to her. Mention there’s a great sale at a local store. Maybe you could slip her a gift card for the local coffee shop. Tell her about the fabulous parade scheduled for later that afternoon. A few gentle suggestions might be enough to get her headed in the right direction. Sometimes people need to hear that they have other options besides work and home – even a walk around the park has got to be more fun than spending extra hours on the unit!
Dear Nurse Marge,
When did nursing become an endurance race? I start running the moment I get to work and the pace never drops off until it’s time to give report! I get home and drop into bed exhausted. I don’t remember the first twenty years being anything like this – but I’m worried that if I can’t keep up I’ll be left without a job! What gives?
Slow and Steady
Dear Slow and Steady,
Remember that you’ve got it in you to win the race! Being a faster nurse doesn’t mean you’re a better nurse: moving too quickly actually increases the risk of mistakes, errors, and things that cause paperwork – and nobody wants that! If that means ratcheting back the speed a notch or two, so be it – you’ll be a happier, better nurse for it. There will always be days when it’s all out, all day, but every shift shouldn’t be like that!
PS. 20 years ago, the patients were slower and sicker. I blame health food myself.