Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things learned: week one.

1. Slow down and pay attention.

It doesn't matter if you've done it a million times one particular way before. If you hurry through it, there's a chance you'll miss something important.

2. If it hasn't worked every time you've done it before, the problem is you.

This is not a time for pride: if you're not good at something in particular (with me, it's tricky IVs), you should examine how it is that you've been doing it all these years and fix the problem. If you don't know what the problem is, ask somebody else. Another person will certainly have either advice or insight that will do you good.

3. Play to your strengths, but know when to give 'em a rest, too.

My big strength is education. I can teach almost anybody almost anything that I understand myself. In a way, that's good: patients and family members who are getting ready to go home have lots of questions about aftercare. In a way, that's bad: patients and family members in the ICU don't necessarily need to know exactly what every single piece of tubing means. There is such a thing as too much information.

4. Let other people take the lead.

People will generally tell you what they want, if you just give them the chance. Fall back and allow that to happen. In that same vein...

5. Nonverbal cues are very important, whether or not they're subtle.

What's *not* happening is as important as what is. If you have a family member who won't ask questions, or who sits in a chair with their arms crossed and looks stony, there is something Very Big going on there. Those are nonsubtle nonverbal cues. The subtle ones are things like the little flicker of the eyelid that means that the person didn't understand what you were just saying, or the small pause before a question. They're just as important as the big ones, if not more so.

I'm limiting this to five. If I listed 'em all, I'd blow Blogger up for sure.


Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...


It is one of the problems we have teaching vet nurses who have already worked in practice and think they know it all already - it is very hard to retrain them when they are doing it "the old way".

great post

Paris said...

This is such great advice for nurses of all ages. Thank you.

woolywoman said...

Don't forget my personal favorite: "if you have to jack with it, it's wrong"

Rat said...

Amen, to Fi. I'm with you...and I am one of those old vet nurses. Don't think that I am not willing to give up the IV. No way. Two pokes, I'm out....NEXT!!! And they called me a tick. heh.