Today we’re going to take things outside of the blog world and talk about our other world — the nursing world. For those of you who aren’t already aware, we are both registered nurses. Megan is a Labor and Delivery nurse and Melissa works in the Neonatal ICU at the same hospital. While we both certainly have our days where we’d rather do anything besides step foot back in the hospital, we also have a passion and a love for what we do that is indescribable unless you, too are a nurse.
For each of us individually, we can both say – unwaveringly – that one of the greatest joys and biggest highlights of our jobs is the group of amazing individuals that we get to work alongside. Each of us have been so blessed with coworkers that are far more than just coworkers, but friends and some even feel like family. Because when you’re spending 12 hours a day with these people, they become family.
Because we adore so many of our sweet coworkers, we thought we would share what we consider 5 ways to be a nurse that everyone wants to work with. We are almost positive that every nurse that reads this post will agree with us. And if you’re a nursing student or a new grad — take our advice here — this is how you will not just survive, but thrive as a nurse.
1. Always offer to help — and not just help, but go above and beyond
This one is huge. When you are freed up for a moment (some days don’t allow for this, we know), don’t sit down without checking on every single other one of your coworkers. There is nothing more frustrating than when you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off and your coworker(s) are sitting around and haven’t offered to help. Instead go bedside to bedside or door to door and make sure everyone is doing ok. And when someone asks you to help, be willing to really help. Don’t just help them get by. If they have a medication to give and they’re behind, offer to give it for them. Does their patient need help eating? Offer to feed them. Whatever that looks like in your unit — be willing to go above and beyond, because eventually your shift will come where you feel like your drowning and that same coworker is going to come to your rescue. Teamwork makes the dreamwork, y’all. Don’t forget it!
2. Don’t be a part of the gossip — be trustworthy
Ok — we don’t care who you are — everyone struggles with this one. Nursing is heavily populated with females…we all know that. And females are heavily populated with opinions and details and useless information that we, for some reason, always feel compelled to share. But do your best to not be that nurse. If people are gossiping, speak up to end it or remove yourself from the conversation. Think about it — there is never a time that someone regrets being kind. Are we right?! In addition to this, be trustworthy. For some of your coworkers, you’re the only one who they can talk to about family issues or things going on in their lives. Be trustworthy. Don’t listen and then go tell other people. But listen and take interest. Pay attention. It means a lot to someone when they talk to you about something personal and you are able to bring it up in conversation the next time you see them. Authenticity is the most attractive thing in a person. Be authentic and be intentional. These aren’t just random people. These are the people who fully understand the work you do and can empathize with you. Be interested in the details of their lives if they are willing to share them with you!
3. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions
Oh y’all. This is HUGE, too. If you have a question about something at work…ASK! It’s likely that another coworker has the same question anyway. Plus, it’s a willingness to say “I’m not completely sure about this and I want to be 100% sure.” We are both big advocates for this type of nursing. Look up the policies on things your unclear on. Approach your coworkers and get 2nd and 3rd and 4th opinions. A willingness to ask questions shows a willingness to learn and it also shows how important your patient’s safety and wellbeing is to you as a nurse. Keeping your questions to yourself is the complete opposite. Your coworkers will respect you far more if you’re willing to ask before just winging anything. And while we’re on the topic — DO NOT BE A KNOW-IT-ALL. Ohhhh Lord have mercy. NO ONE likes being around a know-it-all. And if you’re reading this saying “I don’t think our unit has a ‘know-it-all’ type person!” then take a second to check yourself…because it could be you! Yikes.
4. Don’t be lazy — work hard every single time
Every single unit has that one person…you already know…the one who pawns their work off on everyone else and does random dumb stuff to kill time. DON’T BE THIS NURSE! When you are at work, work hard. Don’t give your coworkers any reason to think you are lazy or you aren’t doing your job well. Your work ethic is directly reflective of your character. Stay driven. Stay focused. Make your organization proud to have you on their team. The minute you become lazy is the minute your coworkers will no longer want to lend a hand. Just show up and work hard. Earn your money well and be proud of the work you put in. You are making real differences in the lives of so many when you’re at work. Don’t discount that and don’t take that lightly!
5. Know how to have fun, too!
Be FUN! Nursing is full of every single emotion in the book and sometimes the only people that can help you cope through something are your coworkers. Be able to laugh off the silly crap with them so that you can handle the really tough stuff with them, too. Be outgoing, willing to get to know your coworkers, and willing to let them get to know you. Laugh with them, joke with them, and have fun with them. No one enjoys a buzzkill personality or someone who is super business all the time. Learn to find the balance and share that with your coworkers so that they, too, can have fun at work. Work doesn’t have to be this dungeon-esque thing that culture has tried to make it for us. Work can be just as fun as it is hard. Learn to include that fun aspect while balancing and prioritizing the needs of your patients.
What about you!? What are the qualities that stick out to you about your favorite coworkers!? We would love to hear!