The relationship you have with your nurses will make or break you. You want
need to have a strong working relationship with them. Here are some tips on how to do this, featuring amazing advice from ‘a washed up ex-ED nurse’ – our favorite and still family Molly Sullivan (now in the CCU). Also featuring advice from a handful of other ED nurses including Olivia, Nat, Barry, Paola, and Steph
Here are the broad strokes, find attached the full memo Molly kindly took the time to write out for us <3
TLDR: INTRODUCE YOURSELF, HELP GET THE PEE, TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH, BE HUMBLEDo’s:
- BASIC HUMAN SOCIAL SKILLS: “At the beginning of a shift, introduce yourself to the nursing staff, explain your role, ask for everyone’s name, make a real effort to remember names. I encourage asking for help and thanking us when we provide it.”
- LEND A HAND WITH NURSE/TECH TASKS ” If a patient/visitor asks for help with a very nurse- or tech-centered task (getting a urinal/bedpan, etc), get the supplies needed, approach the patient’s nurse, and tell them about the patient’s request while offering your hands-on assistance…ie ‘Hey Molly, Mr. Ziffer needs a bedpan. I have the supplies here, do you want me to help turn him or find a tech to help out?’ More often than not they won’t ask for help but just offering goes a LONG WAY.”
- ASK FOR FEEDBACK “Not only does this provide a really good opportunity for your learning, it promotes trust, facilitates a collaborative relationship and open exchange of ideas between disciplines, and overall enhances any and all Good Vibes.
- HELP COLLECT URINE – it’s as simple as handing a patient a urine cup slapped with one of their labels and a few disinfectant wipes. Plus the sign out of ‘pending UA’ without urine collected is weak-af.
- LEARN HOW TO DRAW LABS/START IV’S more info attached and to come. With this, if you don’t know if you’ll want the dimer/culture/etc, ask the nurse to draw it anyway so that after talking to your senior/attending they don’t have to go back and re-draw
- TRY TO PLACE ALL YOUR ORDERS AT ONCE – this is tough in the beginning, and can get tricky with PIT providers shotgunning stuff. See above regarding just going and drawing that blue top yourself.
- Epic chat the nurse who’s sitting 2 feet away. HUGE pet peeve. Talk, communicate, collaborate like a human.
- “Act like you’re the expert from Day 1” Self explanatory. It’s ok to be confident, but being cocky, rude or short is unacceptable.
- “Take any disagreement or questioning as a personal challenge. A lot of times nurses may come to you to clarify orders and/or ask why you want something done. Sometimes nurses have attitudes when they do this. The best EM doctors I know removed anything personal from the equation and took this as an opportunity to discuss the plan, provide teaching, and ask for feedback from the nurse.”
- “Refuse to apologize. I have been accidentally rude, bossy, and snippy with so many people in our ED–doctors, nurses, techs, transport, you name it. It comes with the territory. Everyone is stressed out…what’s important isn’t that you are perfect, it’s that you can take ownership over your behavior, offer genuine and authentic apologies to those you might have disrespected, and be able to describe in your own words what you’ve done wrong.”
Having a good great relationship with your nurses makes the job so much more fun and rewarding. Follow these simple rules and I guarantee you, your nurses, and your patients will all be better for it.