Tips & Advice

What Not to Do During Nursing Rotations

Tips & AdviceDecember 09, 2016

If you are on the RN to BSN track, your career is definitely headed in the right direction, but it can be a little daunting at times when you consider how many things you have to remember and to do, and there are also some things you definitely should not do.

Take nursing rotations, for instance. You will probably find plenty of advice about what your clinical rotations will be like, and what will be expected of you. But it can be equally instructive to consider the behaviors and actions you should avoid in order to get the most value out of this important aspect of your nursing education. Earning your BS in Nursing is an important step up the career ladder. With any luck you will enjoy your BSN classes and get plenty of professional development benefit from them.

Of course, as the old adage goes, you only get out of something what you are willing to put into it, which brings us to the following do nots:

  • Prejudge your rotation. Some students enter into clinical rotations convinced they will love a particular service but hate another. Keep an open mind. Many students have unexpectedly discovered an affinity they have never expected for a particular branch of nursing.
  • Fail to form relationships with the working nurses you will meet because you focus so hard on the tasks at hand. These professionals are potential founts of knowledge, wisdom, and useful advice. They could also serve as professional contacts when it comes time to seek employment. Networking is a crucial part of success in any profession, and successful networking thrives on close, personal relationships. Make an effort and your preceptors may ramp up their own efforts to contribute to your success as a nursing student and future nursing professional.
  • Imagine that your every move is not being watched. Be considerate and attentive of the nurses or technologists assigned to you as they will be reporting your performance to superiors. Behave accordingly.
  • Argue with patients. It is pointless and unprofessional. Many patients are fearful or in pain. As a nurse, you will see people at their worst. That can take patience and a thick skin. It is best to learn now that you will need to make allowances for behavior that might not be acceptable ordinarily. It is also beneficial to everyone involved to cultivate an atmosphere of shared decision making between medical staff and patients.  
  • Disrespect the chain of command. Medical institutions tend to follow a hierarchy of power and authority. If you have a legitimate complaint or concern, seek out your immediate superior. Going over heads can be a mistake that saddles you with a reputation as someone who is not a team player.
  • Perform any medical procedure without specific authorization from your supervisor. In the real world, competence and liability are important issues.
  • Document a potentially alarming finding without notifying a superior immediately. If you were to note an irregular, racing heartbeat while taking a patient’s pulse, it could signal an important adverse event. Do not simply document your findings and then forget about it. Someone in authority should be notified as soon as possible.
  • Arrive late, dress inappropriately, or forget where you are. A hospital is not an ordinary workplace or public space. Your focus must always be on the patients there, many of whom are suffering in some manner. Be respectful of them and your colleagues by acting, speaking, arriving, grooming, and dressing accordingly.