5 Mistakes that Can Ruin a New Nurse’s Career

Making mistakes as a new nurse can be disastrous

August 24, 2018
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Nursing is a very promising career path for people that have a knack for science, a high stress tolerance and deep desire to help others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of nursing positions is growing at a rate of 15% between 2016 and 2026. This is much faster than the average for all careers. The median pay is also very high, currently hovering around $70,000 a year.

While the career is very promising, it is also incredibly demanding. A single mistake can derail your career for years. Making mistakes as a new nurse can be especially disastrous.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that new nurses make.

Trying to change your specialties in your first year

Many people choose nursing over medicine for a career, due to the fact that you can change specialties more easily. However, you are still going to need to choose a specialty for the beginning stages of your career. You can change it later, but it is not a good idea to do so in your first year.

You will be overwhelmed enough in your first year as a nurse. Changing your specialty is only going to make it more difficult. Also, changing your specialty too early can send the wrong message to your supervisors and colleagues. They may think that you are not very committed to your career or are easily burnt out by stress and feel the need to look for more manageable career paths.

Failing to maintain a work life balance

Nursing is an incredibly demanding profession. You can burn out very easily and start suffering from empathy fatigue if you don’t manage to maintain a balance between your professional and personal lives.

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Don’t get too wrapped up in your work. Try to limit your obligations during your first year. You may need to take the first six months to get acclimated before you consider studying for a more advanced degree or look into promotions. You should also be wary of volunteering for unnecessary overtime until you know what you can manage and have enough of a handle on your personal life.

Going into nursing before knowing if it will be a good fit

Nursing is a great career for many people. Unfortunately, it isn’t for everyone. You need to know what it will be like first. Talk to experienced nurses. Look at nursing school admission exams to see what the curriculum will be like. This will help you decide whether it is the right fit.

If you do go into nursing, it is important to come up with the right nursing resume. The Nova Resume template helps you see what needs to be included.

Not being careful enough with administering medications

Medication errors are very serious. They can be fatal if you give them to the wrong patient. Of course, not all medication errors are your fault. Some studies have shown that around 32% of medication errors are due to administrative mistakes.

Your career can survive if you made a medication error that was due to somebody else’s poor recordkeeping, a careless physician or an inaccurate statement made by the patient. That won’t be the case if you are solely responsible for the mistake, especially if administering the wrong medication leads to a fatality.

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You need to be very careful before giving any patient medication. Carefully read their chart and the instructions from the M.D. first. Document everything and make sure that you can stand by your decision if anything goes wrong. If the wrong medication was administered. You need to show that you were acting under the attending physician’s instructions.

Not identifying the source of stress and looking for solutions

You will deal with lots of stress as a nurse. It can cause a lot of problems in your work life if you aren’t careful. Unfortunately, stress is cumulative. Stress from different parts of your professional and personal lives can be difficult to manage if you aren’t aware of where it comes from.

Your stress may be caused by:

  • Overburdening or mean-spirited bosses
  • Having to work excessive hours, multiple days in a row
  • Relationship problems with your significant other, friends or family
  • Financial issues you are facing
  • Dealing with child care arrangements and other problems at home

Make sure that you what problems are causing stress and find the right solutions.