Your advice for ‘baby nurses’


What would you tell a brand new member of our profession? Sonya M. Schwartzbach wrote a ‘letter to the baby nurses‘ on Huffington Post, which the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association shared on their Facebook page, asking readers to share their own words of advice.

Here’s what nurses had to say – lots of golden wisdom:

  • Train your bladder as well as your mind.
  • Invest in good shoes and decent handcream.
  • Every shift comes to an end.
  • Develop a sense of humour and a thick skin.
  • Remember to smile at and touch patients and listen to them. You can sometimes be the best diagnostician.
  • Try to understand the physiology, pharmacology and microbiology around what is happening with your patient. Learn something every day.
  • Try to have fun, with your patients and families, but, more important, your colleagues and friends.
  • Join the union. Sometimes they will be the only one in your corner.
  • It gets better. Respect yourself and your opinions. If you believe something is wrong, say something. Be professional. Be kind. Be organised and be a member of the union.
  • Patients don’t care how much you know … they do need to know that you care ❤️.
  • Treat those in your care the way you would want your loved ones cared for.
  • Always work as a team, speak up if things are not right, look after your back.
  • Self care is important; clear time away from being a nurse, leave work at work.
  • There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Learn from your mistakes.
  • The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, but that’s ok, just don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Make sure you understand what will be needed from you!
  • Don’t take more notice of machines and papers than you do of those in your care.
  • Remember the person has feelings and needs you to always be their voice. You do have to put others’ needs before your own. In other words, be a nurse!
  • Look after yourself, if you’re not well you can’t look after anyone else.
  • You have the right to be treated with kindness and respected for the practitioner you are.
  • Stand up for what you think is right.
  • Always make the patient your priority.
  • Always listen and try to understand your patient. Be their voice when they are afraid to use theirs. Learn from your seniors and doctors. Never be afraid to question them (without challenge). Be confident in your skills but keep learning.
  • Know your limitations and ask for help. Never think you’re above anyone or any task. Wiping bottoms is important too.
  • Smile as often as you can.
  • Best job you will ever have.
  • Make every patient’s time with you a positive journey, make a difference in their lives.
  • Your feet will never be the same again.
  • Guard your pen.
  • Get ready for eating on the run and not going to the toilet for hours after you need to.
  • Be genuine and kind.
  • Be strong for those in their darkest hours and do what needs to be done.
  • Know there are good and bad days, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad nurse.
  • Join the union straight away.

There were also some comments about the terminology of the article:

  • I certainly wouldn’t call our new grads ‘baby nurses’, they bring enthusiasm that we sometimes forget. They will be the future carers of some of us older nurses so we need to encourage and nurture them.
  • Don’t call me baby!
  • It would be rude and disrespectful to refer to our senior and experienced colleagues as “granny nurses” so why is the term “baby nurses” ok for new grads? I find it quite belittling and degrading.
  • I might be new-ish but I sure as heck am not a baby! New nurse…

Do you have any badvice to add to this? Leave your thoughts in comments below.

Previously on Nurse Uncut:



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