If you’re just starting out as a nurse or are still a student in nursing school, get ready to receive a whirlwind of new information. Your first few days on the job are sure to be stressful and eventful. But as you go about caring for patients, there are some crucial mistakes you need to be aware of. Everyone makes mistakes their first few days on the job, but you can save yourself some time and embarrassment if you know what to expect. Learn how to avoid common mistakes with these simple tips and tricks.
Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene
It can’t be said enough. New nurses can get so over-burdened with routine tasks that they lose track of time, which usually means hygiene goes out the window. Even if you’re falling behind or struggling to meet the demands of the job, don’t forget to wash your hands and minimize the risk of infection. Infections in U.S. hospitals lead to just under 100,000 deaths every year, so leave plenty of time for proper hygiene in your busy schedule.
Lack of Patient Documentation and Paperwork Errors
When caring for patients, you might lose sight of one of the most important aspects of healthcare: paperwork. It’s your job to update patient records every time you attend to a patient. But when you’re stressed out and running short on time, it’s easy to see how you can fall behind on patient documentation. But if you enter the wrong information or leave something out, it could lead impede the patient’s access to care or lead to a nasty lawsuit.
To better protect yourself from patient documentation errors, remember this checklist:
- Record all health and drug information, including medications given and discontinued medications
- Record all your actions as a nurse
- Record any and all changes in the patient’s condition
- Record any orders you may have received regarding the patient’s care
IV with Rolling Veins
Rolling veins are sure to throw any IV newbie for a loop. New nurses and students tend to be a bit timid when trying to insert a needle into a patient’s vein. The fear of getting it wrong can be overwhelming in some individuals, especially when the person’s veins keep moving from side to side. To make sure you land on your feet, it’s best to roll the vein into the needle. Position the needle to the side of the person’s vein, insert the catheter just past the bevel and release the vein. It should land right under the needle for a hassle-free IV.
Removing Soiled Pull-Up Briefs
One of the many perks of being a nurse is having to remove soiled underwear. But pull-up briefs are not your average pair of underwear. They cling to the body, so if you try to pull the briefs off, you’re bound to make a mess all over the patient and their bed. Instead, cut the sides of the briefs, fold the top under and toward the patient, roll them up and remove. This will save you a lot of grief and embarrassment on your first day on the job.