Don’t show up to work with a know-it-all attitude. Don’t act like you know everything. Because you don’t. As a new grad nurse, other nurses are going to expect you to ask questions. Honestly, it would be weird if you didn’t. You’re not going to look dumb. The opposite is actually going to happen. By asking questions, your fellow nurses will think you’re smart (source). Part of that is because you’re seeking wisdom and advice from those who know it. The other reason is that people, in general, are flattered when other people are asking them for advice.
Like any area of nursing, you’re going to hear and see terminology you might not see anywhere else. Many med-surg floors are general floors where you’re going to be seeing patients with all sorts of different illnesses and conditions. You don’t need to know everything. But just become familiar with some of the more common occurrences you’re going to see as a med-surge nurse. You don’t really need to pay for anything you can just search online and find some helpful resources. If you’re wanting some resources with the information all in the same spot here are some useful books you can buy off Amazon
Above I mentioned the importance of a good preceptor. Well, a good preceptor is only half the battle. You’re the other half. If you come to work an arrogant know-it-all and are not teachable, then you’re going to have a hard time succeeding. Instead, show up with an open mind to learn from your preceptor and other experienced nurses
I used to not be very good at starting IVs. I’m still not the very best, but I’ve gotten a lot better over the years. There are two reasons for this. The first is repetition. If you’re not very good at IVs, you’re going to want to pass this off to somebody else if you can. Don’t. At least try first before passing it off. Repetition will make you better with time. The second reason I’ve gotten better is I’ve watched a lot of other nurses start IVs, and I’ve asked a lot of questions. The main reason you should get better at starting an IV is that you can’t always depend on other nurses for this. Another nurse might not be immediately available to get an IV started for you, and that would only slow you down.
Everything is important, and everything needs to be done. But it doesn’t mean everything needs to be done right this very second. Prioritization is the key to a successful nursing career as a med surg nurse. A patient pressing the call light because they want their pillow fluffed doesn’t take precedence over a decompensating patient or a post-op patient. This is another area where seeking the wisdom and guidance of more seasoned nurses are very beneficial to your growth. An experienced nurse can help show you how to prioritize tasks. (In case if you were wondering. “Do they know they put prioritization twice on here.” The answer to that questions is yes. Yes we do. It’s that important. )
Many experienced nurses might not agree with this, but I cannot stress enough the value of a good nursing preceptor. Your preceptor as a new grad nurse is going to make or break your career in the med surg. Actually, not just that but they really are going to make or break your career as a nurse. Here’s what I mean your preceptor is going to give you advice on what you should or shouldn’t do in a given situation. More than that a good preceptor should be somebody you can rely on or seek their advice on things long after your orientation ends. In a lot of ways, they are helping you lay your foundations in nursing. But unfortunately, many preceptors are not going to be that for various reasons some preceptors just aren’t going to be very good. If you start seeing signs that your preceptor is not going to help you succeed, then it might be time to have a conversation with your manager to see where the problem might be.
Practice exams are absolutely the best and most important way to prepare – HOWEVER – simply taking the practice exam questions is only half of the process. It is just as important to:
It is definitely worthwhile to invest in practice exam books or enroll in a classroom review course. Some examples are Kaplan, UWorld, and nursing.com.* Usually, people choose their study material based on reviews, peer references, or personal preference. All exam resource companies produce exceptional guides to prepare you for the NCLEX exam, so spend some time browsing reviews to see which guidebook style fits you best. *Affiliate link. If you decide to use Nursing.com, Nurse.org may receive a commission.
Related: Top 5 NCLEX Review Courses (With Cost)
The NCLEX is just as much about knowing how the test is written as it is knowing the right answers. Utilize test-taking strategies to eliminate wrong answers, avoid “extremes” like ALL or NONE answers, and remember to always put patient safety first. With practice, you will notice some themes in answers: