10 Things Every Nurse Should do Every Single Shift They Work

Remember that there is an end to every day.

As soon as you deliver (or for my mother-baby peeps out there, discharge!) your patient, you seem to immediately get another one. Maybe your feet hurt. Half your sandwich from lunch may still be sitting on the break room table. Maybe your patient needs more attention than you are able to give. Maybe you can’t remember the last day your unit wasn’t crazy-busy, or the last shift that didn’t seem to be short-staffed. Just remember that there is an end to every day 😃

Acknowledge the good work all around you.

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Look around you and really acknowledge all of the skilled, truly amazing people we work with. When someone does something for you, even if they should be doing it, thank them. Because that’s the nice thing to do.  And we truly are grateful for any help we can get!  Start off your shift by voicing how excited you are to be working with your favorite people.  Your attitude and tone can change your entire day, and the entire day for your coworkers.

Offer to help your coworkers.

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We all have more charting we need to finish. There’s always something else we need to do.  Even if it’s just turning off a call light and telling the patient that their nurse will be with them in a few minutes, the simplest gesture can go a long way.  Its hard to always practice, because there are so many things that we need to do, but we should always treat our coworkers like we would want them to treat us.

Check your pulse.

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When something goes wrong and you feel yourself starting to completely freak out, take a moment to stop and check your pulse.  Taking this moment can help to prevent you from doing (or saying!) a lot of things that you may later wish you had handled differently.

Laugh when everything seems to be going wrong.

Because what else can you do?!

Don’t allow a provider (or anyone else) to intimidate you.

We’ve all been there. There’s usually at least one provider that will talk loud and make you question every single thing you know. Don’t be afraid to politely voice your opinion. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel less confident in your abilities as a nurse. And remember, it’s not their patient, it’s our patient. We are allowed to be wrong. And so are they 😃 But we are all trying to take care of our patients.  Do not ever do anything to a patient if you have questions or are unsure about something. And if someone is a total prick, follow the chain of command and tell your charge nurse or your manager.

Go to the bathroom.

Don’t forget!  We don’t get extra points for holding it for 13 hours…

Don’t expect people to read your mind.

Half the time we’re upset that someone hasn’t helped us when we needed it. We can’t expect people to know what we want when we aren’t telling them what we need.

…and don’t try to read other people’s.

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It can be hard not to assume what someone’s intentions are. But we’re all professionals, so if we have an issue with someone or something, talk to the other person about it politely and in private.

Remember that the way we treat our patients alters the way they remember the birth of their baby.

This is really easy to loose sight of. But none of us should ever forget that the way we take care of our patients completely changes the way they remember the birth of their baby.  And in the case of an IUFD, it’s the only time they will ever have with their baby.  Remember that people handle stress and pain and change differently.  If your patient is being difficult or needy, try to remember that this is a magical process that they may still be trying to get use to 😃  And try to treat everyone like you would treat a member of your own family. A member that you like 😃

Until my next delivery ❤


8 thoughts on “10 Things Every Nurse Should do Every Single Shift They Work

  • November 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm
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    I love reading your post even though I’m not a nurse nor could I ever be (I pass out at the sight of blood) but I did just deliver my twins and wished some of the nurses I had read your blog. I was so upset at how some of the night time nurses were with me. The nicu nurses were amazing and the day time nurses as well, but the night time nurses you could tell didn’t wanna be there and truly didn’t care :-(. Maybe they were just tired or had some thing personal going on, who am I to judge?

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  • November 13, 2014 at 6:17 pm
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    You are so right about the last one… I’m not a nurse, but had very different delivery experiences with my babies- all because of my nurses. With my first baby I arrived at L & D and got an eye roll when I had a contraction while talking to the nurse. I felt a little bit validated when a different nurse checked me and said “7cm, good job mom.” But until I delivered they wouldn’t let me out of bed, and I just needed to stand up. I didn’t even need to go far, I just needed to stand and lean over the bed. They wouldn’t allow that and kept pushing an epidural on me. I wound up with the epidural I didn’t want because the pain while laying down was excruciating. With my second, I was induced since I had a very overreactive doctor who put the fear of God into me to make me go along with it. (I didn’t go back to her with my third.) The nurses were awesome, didn’t push drugs on me at all and my daughter was actually delivered by my nurse because I went from hey maybe I feel a little pressure to I NEED TO PUSH in about a minute. Doc couldn’t get there in time since she had gone back to the office, but it was the best delivery of the three. She let me do my thing and encouraged me along the way. With my third I came in and my nurse could only feel the bag of waters so I didn’t get a whole lot of time with her… but she was awesome too- joking around with me- what was your pain management plan? Me- I don’t want anything. Her- Good. Cuz your not getting anything!

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  • November 15, 2014 at 3:41 am
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    As a night shift labor and delivery nurse, I pride myself in making every effort to make each and every patient believe that they are my only patient! If they are the fence about an epidural I tell them the options and also tell them there’s “no shame” in deciding they want an epidural even if they came in not wanting one at all. I started. L&D thinking I’d work the minimum 6 months then transfer out if the unit and I must say, being at such life changing events with my patients and families makes me want to stay!
    Love your blog! Amy

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