Survival Series


Most nurses would admit it is hard to have to float to a new unit, especially one you have never been to before. Imagine being a student on top of that! I try to keep my students on the same floor at least a few weeks, but I also want them to experience as much a possible during my short time with them. My group of students this quarter have been at the same hospital for the past few quarters, but are now starting to explore new units with those skills under their belts! Taking it up a notch! It got me to thinking, what do you need to find on each floor to have smooth and successful day? So here’s a quick list to try to ease some of the stress of spending the day on a new floor!


Five Things to Find Immediately When on a New Nursing Floor

1. Where is the bathroom?

Let’s just cut to the chase – you know you are going to have to go eventually – might as well locate it now! The last thing you need is to be searching when its an true personal emergency. Make sure you know where it is – you WILL need it eventually! Plus, you might learn something, this is where all the educational material is posted!

2. Where is the code cart?

Again, this is not something you want to be frantically searching for in a time of need! It should be easily found – file it away in your head. It’s one of those things – if you know where it is, you may not need it?? We could hope – for you AND your patients – you won’t need it. (But, if you are like most students, you probably want that experience!)

3. Where is the nutrition room?

According to Maslow’s hierarchy, someone, likely your patient, will need to eat or drink. Take quick inventory of what is available on that particular floor. I was fortunate for may years, we shared our nutrition room with the Pedi ICU – we had great stuff to offer! Maybe you’ll get lucky.

4. Where is the clean and dirty room?

Hopefully between these two rooms, you will have found most things to get you through the day. The key – try not to get them confused – that could be awkward! Again, take note, what is in each room – is the linen here or on a random cart in the hallway. Where do they keep their bags? They are like gold in some hospitals – find the special stash or make friends quickly with the environmental staff – they have everything!

5. Where is the medication and supply room?

Take inventory of what is actually in the medication room – do they have all the supplies you will need or is it all stored in a separate supply room? Open the cupboards and drawers. I floated a lot as a traveler, and the staff was always amazed at how I know where they hid random things – I was VERY nosy, but I knew where everything was! The supply room, if it is a separate room, can be particularly challenging. It seems each hospital has their own “logical” way of organizing everything. Unfortunately, their logic never matched mine and I just had to remember where things were located. Take special note of common care items – IV start supplies, tape, dressing supplies, etc.

Hopefully, this will give you a place to get acclimated to each floor you visit! Make the best of it – be helpful and you will be amazed at how much you will learn if you are just willing! Good luck, take care & don’t get lost!

Comments (1)

  1. Susan J. Brown


    Best & most succinct info I have seen for new nurses. Take heed & save yourself time & steps, your patients need informed & caring nurses. sjb

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