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Been There, Done That

The first six months are the hardest, but you fall into a routine and you will start to feel more confident, remembering that no two patients are the same. 

Stephanie Ingraham, RN, Conway Regional Health System

A young nurse is set apart when she is willing to learn and help others. Young nurses are set apart for the worse when they think they already know everything and don’t want to ask questions. There are some things you can’t learn from a book, you only learn from experience. 

Meagan Moore, RN, BSN, Baptist Health

The major make-or-break issues would be confidence, nerves and just learning to trust your gut. I was so scared I was going to mess up that I wouldn’t put myself out there as much as I wish I would have. You’ve got to realize that it’s OK to be nervous and you can mess up. It’s a learning process.

Paula Spells, RN, Arkansas Children’s Hospital surgery department 

You should always have a healthy amount of fear coming into work every day. Anything can happen and you need to be prepared. Being scared means you’re being smart. 

Stephen Feero, BSN, RN, CCRN, Arkansas Tech University

Protecting patient/hospital data is of utmost importance, especially if the nurse works in a “hometown” facility where everyone knows everyone. Privacy can be compromised by discussing patient situations in the elevator, at a restaurant or in a social setting.

Laura Gillis, MSN, RN, clinical instructor, University of Central Arkansas School of Nursing

The first time one of my patients died, I felt like I wasn’t cut out for nursing. You will never forget. 

Jennifer Cooper, RN, Conway Regional Health System

Approaching the team with a positive attitude and work ethic serve as great first impressions. Always offer to help when you can, never be above turning a patient or bathing a patient. These are all things that help, and the nurse earns respect by demonstrating teamwork.

Angela McJunkins, BSN, RN, PN program nursing faculty, National Park College

Words to live by? One day at a time. 

Lori Pledger, Team Leader Baptist Home Health

Take care of yourself. Eat, exercise and sleep. Meal plan so you have healthy food. Find the right exercise for you. Create your sleep environment to foster sleep. From blackout curtains, to the right temperature, to your sleepwear — only you know what you need for good sleep.

Amanda Beaver, MSN, RN, clinical instructor, University of Central Arkansas School of Nursing

Be kind and compassionate. There is something underneath the patient’s difficult facade that the health care team doesn’t know about. Being nice goes a long way. People can tell when you care. 

Dr. Sloan Davidson, associate professor, UA-Little Rock Nursing

A new nurse goes through the grieving process during their first year of nursing. A new nurse is scared, nervous and excited all in one. During the first year, you’re on a roller coaster, so there are many nights of crying all the way home or staying late to finish charting. These emotions get better, and the roller coaster will finally slow down. It just takes time. 

Brittney Jones, RN, BSN Baptist Health

Lets face it, not everyone is cut out to be a nurse, and as a new grad I thought I was one of those people. But as time has gone on, my opinion has shifted. When I walk into the hospital to start my shift at 0630 I transform. I transform into a friend, a trusted adviser, an empathetic shoulder to lean on, an advocate and a prayer warrior. 

Lauren Thomas, RN, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

People cope with stress and illness the best way they know how. As nurses, it is not only important to understand and help the physical aspect of illness, but the psychological aspects of illness and the stress it causes.

Pam Branch, MSN RN, mental health nursing faculty, National Park College

You won’t forget your first patient that dies. There is just an empty feeling that you get when you realize they aren’t in the hospital room you last saw them in. Don’t be afraid to cry, scream or be angry. You need to let those emotions out. 

Stephen Feero, BSN, RN, CCRN, Arkansas Tech University 

Show compassion even when you don’t want to; realize YOU GOT THIS and JUST DO IT. 

Johnna Askins, Conway Regional Health System

 

Nursing Notes

“Keep your work life and personal life balanced. Get enough rest, play and make sure you have good vacations. I am lucky because I have relatives all around different places in the world that I can go on vacation. I try to have at least one long vacation each year when I get away totally and relax and enjoy myself.”

Helen McLennon, RN
Arkansas Children’s Hospital 
Years in Nursing: 41

 

Helen McLennon, RN
 
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