Listen Up, Experienced Nurses: New Nurses Have A Few Things To Tell You


By Bari Faye Dean

The late Andy Rooney once said, "Age is nothing but experience, and some of us are more experienced than others." That said, in the nursing profession, there's something new to be learned every day.

While there are many lessons and pieces of advice experienced nurses have for their newer counterparts, nurses with a short time on the job said that there are some things they wished their would-be mentors knew.

But, more than anything else, they want to say "thank you." Thank you for answering question after question, shift after shift. "I would encourage all experienced nurses to not be afraid to share any and all of their knowledge with the newer nurses on their unit," said Michele Bender, RN, a new nurse at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air, Md., noting that she hopes experienced nurses continue to "keep in mind what it was like for them as a new grad nurse."

Dear experienced nurse … here's what I want you to know:

Nicole Bitzer, BSN, RN. Shriners Children's New England (Springfield, Mass.): Technology plays such a large role in our careers now, and we have to continually adapt. Becoming a nurse during the global pandemic was also hard, as we had little to no experience before the world completely changed for us. Now we are adjusting to the way it was before, but we barely knew anything prior.

Diana Chong, RN. City of Hope Atlanta: Due to COVID, new nurses like me who graduated in the last two years have had to navigate through unconventional clinical education. This has unfortunately created a lack of hands-on experience with some skills. New nurses might need extra time, guidance and support as they're trying to master those skills.

Huey "Tucker" Campbell, BSN, RN. Med/Surg Orthopedic Unit at East Jefferson General Hospital (Metairie, La.): I was fortunate to have a nurse residency program that gave me an opportunity to self-reflect and openly discuss my areas of success and areas to focus on. Many of my new nurse colleagues were going through similar challenges; however, each of us had individual needs. Experienced nurses may need to assess the individual needs of the new graduate.

Jordan Godbold, BSN, RN. Neuroscience Service Line Navigator, Focused Ultrasound Program at Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital: Developing as a newer nurse during COVID amplified the stress and difficulty of learning. It is more important than ever for new nurses to have the support of seasoned, experienced nurses to help them grow in the field and create a strong future for nursing.

Andrew Hernandez, RN. Transplant ICU Nurse at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (Houston): I would like experienced nurses to understand that this is the very first time that we're experiencing some of the things that they've already seen. For example, coping with the loss of a patient and the emotions that come with that. Additionally, we're also adjusting to our new roles. While we have clinical training, the world outside of nursing school requires us to adjust to the specific environment that we're in.

Minerva Llukovi, RN. White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital: To be a great nurse, you need to be held to a higher standard, make sound clinical judgments, understand how one diagnosis affects another and contribute to decision-making. While this can be intimidating for a new nurse, it is achievable and just takes a little time and steady guidance to gain these skills and become proficient.

Tiffany Lyon, RN. Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (Annapolis, Md.): Being a new nurse is rewarding, but it can be intimidating at times because we are constantly trying to impress our colleagues. I am thankful to my mentors and leaders who have helped and guided me this past year. Because of the global pandemic, we had little to no clinical experience during nursing school, so it has been more of a challenge to perform certain procedures and tasks efficiently. Nursing school doesn't teach you how to communicate and interact with patients and families.

Jaclyn Schultz, BSN, RN. Telemetry at Old Bridge (N.J.) Medical Center: New nurses today have more responsibility and are required to do and know more than in previous years. The expectation of a nurse is not something that is ever truly described until you are physically working in the field. The environment for a new nurse can be uncertain and intimidating at first.

Sarah Taliercio, BSN, RN. Northern Westchester Hospital (Mount Kisco, N.Y.): One major challenge for new nurses in the past few years is that much of our learning was done during COVID. This meant virtual clinicals, less patient interaction due to hospital COVID policies, limited clinical site availability leading to less hands-on experience for clinical tasks.This challenge put new nurses at a disadvantage when first joining the workforce because there are still all the same hurdles of learning a new job/environment/team dynamic in addition to having a larger gap in clinical skill preparation than previous generations of new nurses.


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