We asked some of our nursing friends about some of the worst nursing advice they've ever received. Below are some of the responses we received, along with any better advice they gave us.
1. Don’t wear gloves for IV’s, it’s easier to feel the vein.
Not wearing gloves for inserting IV’s is an absolutely awful idea, yet nurses hear it everywhere. Wearing latex gloves, and sanitizing the site of insertion is absolutely not optional. You can search for a suitable vein to insert the IV in without gloves, but when sticking the vein, you have to wear gloves. Latex gloves help decrease the chance of blood born pathogens being transferred between patient and nurse.
What to do instead: Wear gloves, obviously. More than that however, you can help promote hand sanitation inside your hospital or clinic.
2. Just pretend you didn't see it, then it’s not your problem.
When talking with a few nurses, this blew our mind. After some research however, it did seem that this is a mantra to at least a few people within the profession. Don’t think this way.
What to do instead: We were told that “Nurses should take their work seriously, and if you see something that doesn't look right, there’s a good chance it isn’t, so make it your problem.”
3. When leaving a patient, say, "The Doctor will be here in a few minutes."
This surprised us a little, because it seems so harmless. But one nurse we talked to saw our quizzical looks. "Sure," we were told. "It seems harmless, but why lie? Many times the wait to see a doctor is longer than a few minutes." After a bit of our own research, we found that nurses should also try to not rush through their work. Being meticulous is only a good thing, obviously.
4. Documents, schmockuments. It’s all just busywork.
The breaches and overall problems with Electronic Health Records have been well-documented seemingly since their invention. Whether your hospital or clinic uses paper records or electronic, don’t help out those negative headlines. We were told that you should take time to fill out documents, and have an eye out for you colleague’s possible mistakes.
5. Tell the patient, “I've done this 1000 times,” when you haven’t.
We heard this from seasoned veterans about new nurses on the job. Don’t lie to the patient, even if it is meant to comfort them. It sets yourself up for failure. If you haven’t done it 1000 times, don’t say you’ve done it 1000 times. You don’t have to be overly anxious to talk about your inexperience, but you also don’t have to portray false confidence.