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7 Things to Learn from a "Lifer" Nurse

Prisca Smith | Scrubs Magazine


3. Nurses who have been around know when to admit they are wrong and take responsibility for their mistakes. They also rely on the nurses around them as sounding boards when things are questionable or difficult.


#4: Advocating for a Patient →


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    atyourcervix

    over 4 years ago

    14 comments

    Excellent article! I have only been a nurse since 2001, but I can see the changes I have made from being a novice nurse upwards towards the more experienced nurse. I am much more laid back and relaxed in urgent/emergent situations - because I have a greater experience and knowledge base nine years later. I've always been hesitant about taking charge on the unit, but after doing it several times (actually, being tossed into it), it makes me appreciate other nurses even more for their charge nurse experience. I'm also working on my Masters degree - which has opened my eyes to so much more than bedside nursing.

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    dstavala

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Beautiful article; I feel the say way when I watch a seasoned nurse. Nice to see someone talking about what is admirable about our colleagues.

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    airborne55

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I've been a nurse for 34 years, coming up from a medic to now working on my Master's degree. Here are some pointers alluded to but not specifically mentioned. First of all, nursing was much easier back in my days; there is so much medico-legal and regulatory hoops to jump through now, and patients are wiser, more educated. You will get a first "pass" with patients, because nursing is so highly regarded by the public - see the Gallup poll, since 1999 nurses have scored higher than doctors, priests, pharmacists and police officers. This advice is for the newly graduated nurse about to start her first job:
    1 - prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Nothing will get you more exhausted than doing the task that could wait later. The list changes constantly, from second to second - be ready to switch gears at a moment's notice.
    2 - Put yourself in the patient's place. If you were him/her, would you want it done that way?
    3 - TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Join a yoga class, run, read books, do things that (legally) let you blow off steam. Watch funny movies, have a good laugh, look at your experiences from the human side - believe me, there will be a LOT of funny moments to reflect on and get a smile.
    4 - Don't rest on your laurels - get higher education. Nothing fulfills a person than the sense of accomplishment of attaining a Bachelor's, a Master's or PhD if you don't have one.
    5 - get smarter. Nursing is changing daily, and Evidence Based practice is there to remind you that the train of knowledge waits for no one.
    6- Get a mentor. Look around and see who has been there the longest, and observe and reflect what makes that veteran nurse an expert nurse. Nursing school is generally a guideline for practice, but the real school starts on those hallways and the patients' room.

    Above all, be PATIENT. Nobody, but nobody was born a nurse, they learned to be one, and it is an art, just like singing, dancing, making crafts, writing music, or painting. And as an art you must work at it constantly to hone it, perfect it. Eventually you will be that veteran nurse that looks and acts like an expert nurse.

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    bhroniesjackson

    over 4 years ago

    12 comments

    It was only a matter of time before some well meaning people who valued the "Culture of Life" figured out that quality of life mattered.

    Smart Lipo

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    twin22sister

    over 4 years ago

    8 comments

    I am a diploma nurse with 30+ years of nursing. I have read some of my yearly reviews from 1982-1985They showed my progress, as a nurse, year by year. My evident ( to my head nurse) frustration as a night nurse, Not much room for growth back then, and there. I found that even back there my frustations with frustrations with nonmotivated fellow workers, Drs who don't like to be bothered, night nor day,and patients who refuse to do for themselves when they can. Sadly, I found, much of my current self, in those records. No wonder I burned out. After 10 years, in home health, I was done with more that double the paperwork, because the many of the field and in office, personnel, did not complete the required paperwork and let me tell you, Medicare notices! I learned a lot about what I didn't know as a hospital nurse. When patients started blaming me for there choices of lifestyle, no matter the form of teaching and patient response. Hence, the Drs blaming the professional. Yes, I am burned out. I cry over it. I miss the patients (care and teachin of) as well as the interactions with the Drs., I can't see me going back to high stress, including med/surg. Sloppy nursing and Drs, have always been stressors. As I have analyzed much of my nursing career, I find that despite all, it has been the best choice I have ever made. I have no idea what I will do the rest of my life.

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    Emmatol

    over 4 years ago

    186 comments

    Great article worthy of publication in International Nursing Journal for all professionals to learn from and use as guide to a more excellent practice.

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    savannahpam

    over 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Great article! I am a "lifer" being a nurse since 1971 and have seen so many changes, most for the better. I enjoy the enthusiasm of the younger nurses overall. I have been verbally insulted and abused by some new grads who think that they should be charge nurses after a few months. Others seem to "get it" and truly enjoy the subtle aspects of the profession. We even have a few nurses in their 70's around that have lots to offer. I also ask the new grads questions to keep myself updated. Nursing is a group process!!

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    boobadoo

    over 4 years ago

    6 comments

    I enjoyed this article. I have been in nursing since 1983 and nursing has changed sooooo much. Today the "lifer" "gets little respect" which is a shame as we have so much to offer. Thanks for someone noticing.

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    Account Removed

    over 4 years ago

    I love, love, love this article! Having the great opportunity to work with RN's in different departments, I see the dynamic that takes place between "lifer nurses" newer RN grads, fresh out of school who (for the most part) have an unbounded youthful enthusiasm for their careers that takes some turns with challenging patients (a little fear and trepidation) to seeing them succeed when learning new practices and techniques. I love lifers - mostly their wisdom and the joy and continued eagerness to help, learn and make our departments better.
    Susan
    http://www.RN-Coach.com
    We support Nursing Excellence in Healthcare

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    BethRNCNOR

    over 4 years ago

    30 comments

    I have been in nursing since 1972 and have watched it grow and change. I learned a long time ago to listen to the "lifers". Nurses teach by nature and best by example. I now am a "lifer" and it makes me proud when a new or younger nurse comes to me for advice. It's easy to become "burned out" in nursing. It is such a demanding profession. Learn to step back and observe. See what works and what doesn't and file that away in your memory. Believe me, "lifers" are proud of new nurses just for being there!

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    divanurse12

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Great information to pass on to the future nurses. It is always good to hear tips on what other nurses experience and know what we can work on as new nurses to make those who are retiring proud. I will be starting nursing courses in the spring and I am very nervous because I want to be a good nurse. Learning from those who are seasoned is always a privilege.

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    Account Removed

    over 4 years ago

    Great news for experienced nurses. We often are treated differently in regards to age, but nothing beats experience and stability and the ability be calm under a maelstom of difficult situations, patient, and doctors.

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    csp2359

    over 4 years ago

    14 comments

    As I read through the comments I am awed and humbled ...I am completeing the remedial courses now and hope to start the nuring courses next spring...Having stated that I am concerned about being a good RN....I want to care for patients effectively and am fearful I won't make it....Yet I refuse to let go ...My biggest concern is not getting the support from the seasoned nurses but more so competitive issues that seem to pop up between humans....I simply stated want to be an excellent Nurse....ANY FURTHER COMMENTS FROM ANYONE WOULD BE HELPFUL

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    dovewhite2

    over 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been a nurse for 29 years. Have had the opportunity to work in alot of different settings, from hospital, hospital run clinics, private practice, group practice, home care, end of life care, people with disabilities. I owe what I learned early on to the seasoned nurses. They taught me alot about advocacy, doctors, insurance companies and the profession of nursing. My hat and heart is off to anyone who chooses the life of a nurse. I was severely injured on a job 2 years ago, I enjoyed the work alot. Even now my nursing experiences have helped me cope. I wouldnt trade my nursing experiences for anything. I feel very fortunate to have learned from the best.

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    pjmoon322

    almost 5 years ago

    2 comments

    Great article. I have 7 years of telemetry experience and love picking the brains of my senior nurses when I can. On tele it is rare to be able to have an indepth conversation but there always seems to be a "goto" nurse oozing full of knowledge. I am sometimes in awe of these amazing people. I am continuously empowered and motivated by the brilliant souls that built the foundation of our profession. Take care of yourself and always be open to learning!!!

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