Two Maxims of Nursing

This is for all you student nurses out there. This is a lesson we all learn the hard way, and it’s a lesson you will learn one way or another.

If you can accept and embrace these to constants in the nursing world, you’ll have much less stress in your day and will not burn out of this career as fast as most do.

1. You start your day behind schedule.

: The moment you clock in, even before you get your assignment. Even before you grab your gear. Even if you’re one of the many nurses that come in early to get your lab work before report. You are already behind schedule. You will always be behind the 8-ball, and the minute you think you’re ahead of the game… something happens. Either a patient has an emesis, you have a difficult family member, or difficulty dealing with a physician…or a patient codes. The list goes on. Accept this and move on. Nursing is a 24hr job, you do the best you can, with what you have, in the allotted time you are given and hand-off to the next shift.

2. Charting is never done.

: There will come a time when you will be finishing your 12hr shift. You’ve giving report, and you are just now going to sit down to do your AM assessment note. For instance, in the ICU world, we do 3 full assessments every 4  hrs. Sometimes more depending on the acuity of the patient. I work a 7a-7p shift. I have had a handful of times where I sit down at 8pm to chart my 8am note. Yes, that means I have to chart 3 assessments, and all the happenings throughout my crazy day. And apparently, it was crazy for me to charting 12hrs later!! Accept this and move on. Charting comes last in the tangled web of nursing.  Yes, you are correct. If it’s not charted it did not happen, but your patients are your priority.

If you can accept and embrace these two maxims, your gonna be a much happier and much more pleasant individual. New nurses always get caught up in swimming upstream and not having any charting done.

Accept them and embrace them. You will have good days and bad days, but these two concepts will be with you every day of your nursing career.

Welcome to nursing. Enjoy the ride!!!


Blog reheated: I originally wrote this post in August 2008


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2 thoughts on “Two Maxims of Nursing

  1. In my early days as a nurse, a veteran staff member told me, “Be the nurse that puts the patient first and the documentation second.” I always find time to hammer out documentation during my shift – and it’s quicker for me to document multiple hours of care all at once, rather than each task as they happen.

    I don’t worry about finding documentation time, I wait for it to find me.

  2. I had to giggle when i read this entire post…it’s also 1000% true for seasoned nurses sigh…the amount of times i chart after an event & i’m not even in the ICU setting. I love your blog posts!

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