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Graduate Nurse vs Experience Nurse March 8, 2007

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.


I came across an interesting article while working in the ICU one day and I though I’d share it with you.

Unfortunately I don’t know who the author is (if you know, please drop me a line… I’d love to give credit where credit is due!) You can also find this on the internet by clicking on this link.

“More Truth Than Humor”

A graduate nurse throws up when the patient does.
An experienced nurse calls housekeeping when a patient throws up.

A graduate nurse wears so many pins on their name
badge you can’t read it.
An experienced nurse doesn’t wear a name badge for liability reasons.

A graduate nurse charts too much.
An experienced nurse doesn’t chart enough.

A graduate nurse loves to run codes.
An experienced nurse makes graduate nurses run to codes.

A graduate nurse wants everyone to know they are a nurse.
An experienced nurse doesn’t want anyone to know they are a nurse.

A graduate nurse keeps detailed notes on a pad.
An experienced nurse writes on the back of their hand, paper scraps,
napkins, etc.

A graduate nurse will spend all day trying to reorient a patient.
An experienced nurse will chart the patient is disoriented and restrain

A graduate nurse can hear a beeping I-med at 50 yards.
An experienced nurse can’t hear any alarms at any distance.

A graduate nurse loves to hear abnormal heart and breath sounds.
An experienced nurse doesn’t even want to hear about them
unless the patient is symptomatic.

A graduate nurse spends 2 hours giving a patient a bath.
An experienced nurse lets the CNA give the patient a bath.

A graduate nurse thinks people respect nurses.
An experienced nurse knows everybody blames everything on the nurse.

A graduate nurse looks for blood on a bandage hoping they will get to
change it.
An experienced nurse knows a little blood never hurt anybody.

A graduate nurse looks for a chance “to work with the family”.
An experienced nurse avoids the family.

A graduate nurse expects meds and supplies to be delivered on time.
An experienced nurse expects them to never be delivered at all.

A graduate nurse will spend days bladder training an incontinent patient.
An experienced nurse will insert a Foley catheter.

A graduate nurse always answers their phone.
An experienced nurse checks their caller ID before answering the phone.

A graduate nurse thinks psych patients are interesting.
An experienced nurse thinks psych patients are crazy.

A graduate nurse carries reference books in their bag.
An experienced nurse carries magazines, lunch and some “cough syrup”
in their bag.

A graduate nurse doesn’t find this funny.
An experienced nurse does. πŸ™‚

12 years ago I wouldn’t find this funny. Today all I can say is… “it’s true!”

As you probably know, no matter how much knowledge you have, you still can’t replace someone with more experience. Unfortunately this is the case with our profession (and others for that matter). Old nurses are leaving simply because most of them have reached retirement, and there is not a whole lot of new, young nurses stepping up to the plate to take their place. Most new graduates may be book smart, however, it does take experience to be able to have the confidence to know how and when to apply those skills and scientific knowledge learned in the classroom, onto the actual clinical setting.

I suppose the advantage an experienced nurse has is just that… experience. We all have the same educational background (we all graduated from nursing school). We all have the same license. The only thing that sets us apart is experience.

As a nurse of 12 years, I could consider myself a “teenager” when it comes to nursing. Being around nurses with 30+ years experience do have some advantages… you get to learn from them and hopefully, they’ll be able to pass on the knowledge that they’ve gained onto the next generation of nurses. I suppose this is what I’d like to be able to do, i.e., pass on my knowledge and experience onto the new generation of nurses. This is why I wouldn’t expect much from a new grad, not to put them down or anything, just that they may not have the experience we already have. I guess time has a way of making us forget that we were once new grads too.

Having this in mind, I’d like to challenge you, the fine nurses of 5 West to be more mindful of your fellow nurses. I know the frustration of having to get report from an inexperienced nurse, and for this, we need more patience. I wouldn’t dare expect a new grad to perform up to my level of expertise. It’s like expecting a newborn to start walking on their own. They may have the book smarts, but they are still suckling babes. Like the newborn, these new nurses need the tender loving care and support of the more “matured” and experienced ones. We need to be able to teach them well and guide them on the right path. Lets not forget that we were once in their shoes. After all, we’re only as good as what we have experienced. Let’s make their journey into the nursing field a memorable and pleasant one, shall we?



1. selley - May 10, 2008

Well put πŸ™‚ I hope there will more experience nurses like you who cares about new grads and their future.

2. Linda - June 4, 2008

Love your blog, love Graduate Nurse vs Experienced Nurse. I will post it at work and hope that the nurses find it humorous. I have 25+ years of experience and work on a Post Surgical Unit 3/12 midnocs. I will be 60 this year and everyone I work with is at least half my age or more. I find myself thinking more and more I should not be here. New nurse’s do not respect age or experience where I work. I am just old to them.
Friends on the unit are no longer there. A very good friend retired a year ago and she was the only one left my age. Several remarks several times came her way, “She should just retire.”
I wonder if they are saying the same thing about me. I love nursing,
the ever changing world of the medical field. You can never learn it all. I would like to think that I have at least 6 more years, but maybe not. I feel I will be pushed out by the youth of our unit.

JAMIE M. - West Deptford NJ - March 3, 2011

Dear Linda,

I appreciate and admire the passion you have to be a nurse. You have more than a bucket load of knowledge to offer new grad nurses, like myself. Its a shame that the less experienced nurses don’t show their appreciation for your knowledge, as you have more knowledge than them wich they can learn from. =) If I met you on the first day of my new career, I would definitely want someone like you to take me under your wing. Just remember that there is always someone who will need guidance in some form..before you know, they will turn to you. Hope to hear from you soon, i would love for you to be my mentor.

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