First days at a new job can be stressful, especially when you’re an agency nurse at a new facility. Before jumping in to work with patients, here are some questions you might consider asking to make sure you’re well prepared and confident:
- Where is the crash cart? Any experienced agency nurse will tell you the importance of a crash cart, which has all the equipment and medications needed in the first thirty minutes of a medical emergency. Every facility has its own protocol with the crash cart; some store it in a special room or keep the key in a certain drawer. Make sure you know how to get to the crash cart fast in case you need to initiate CPR.
- What’s your number and address? This may seem obvious, but it’s important to have the facility’s address, phone number, and fax number on hand while you’re on duty. Write it down on a card or paper, so if a doctor or pharmacy needs a callback number, you’ll have it nearby.
- Where’s the MD list? You will definitely want to know how to contact the facility’s medical staff. Each patients’ doctor’s information is most likely on their chart, but best to be prepared just in case you need to reach out for a prescription or other questions.
- What’s the lab protocol? Make sure you know where to find the lab fridge for specimens, biohazard bags, and equipment for collecting and storing specimens. The last thing you want is to fumble around while the patient or doctor is waiting.
- How do I contact management? In case of an incident, you should be able to reach management right away – especially if you’re working at night. In a small facility, you might even be the only nurse on staff, so it’s vital that you know how to call for backup.
- How do I get in touch with the pharmacy? It’s very possible that orders for IV fluids, antibiotics, or other medications will need to be made, stat. Be prepared so you can take care of it with no delay.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Though it may take a few extra minutes in the beginning, it will save you lots of time later.