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Learn from Industry Leaders How to Kick-Start Your Nursing Career

July 2013

Attention all student nurses and new nurses – are you interested in learning how to expand your network, prep for interviews or gain valuable experience in nursing? Or maybe you want to know what to expect during your first year as a nurse. We are inviting student nurses and nurses with less than five years of nursing experience to share your fundamental questions with us on the Nursing Notes by Johnson & Johnson Facebook Page and on Twitter @JNJNursingNotes. Each month, we will pick a few questions to highlight in this section with responses provided by seasoned nurses!

Q. What advice can you give to new nurses on how to help improve the patient experience?

A. Openly communicating with your patients and giving them correct expectations is so important. If patients feel that they are well-informed, I have found that they do much better in the recovery process. Recovery is often a marathon, not a sprint, and preparing patients for what to expect is vital to their experience.

-Sara Kerr Reges, RN, Brain Injury Services at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Washington, D.C. Reges has been a nurse since 1987.


Q. What qualities do you most look for in new nurse graduates seeking a job in your unit?

We look for nurses who can demonstrate the ability to show compassion and empathy towards their patients. While a nurse’s clinical skills and experiences are just as important, there is nothing as rewarding as having a new nurse who can empathize with his or her patients.

Additionally, it is critical for young nurses to develop excellent communication skills. Many people take that quality for granted, but communicating is a skill that needs to be developed in order to effectively connect with one’s patients and colleagues.

-Mary Linda Rivera, RN, ND, Senior Director at the Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Patient Experience in Cleveland, Ohio. Rivera has been a nurse for more than 30 years.


Q. What advice would you give to student nurses and recent graduates searching for the “right” specialty and setting to work in?

I have worked in many different environments – urban hospitals, military hospitals, medical centers and now in a rural hospital – and have gained a lot of knowledge from each experience. My best advice is for nurses to take as many opportunities to work in new and different settings as possible. Even if you think you may not enjoy it, each experience may open your mind to something new and help you out in your next role.

-Lisa McDonald, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA, project coordinator and operating room nurse at Canton-Potsdam Hospital in Potsdam, N.Y. Lisa has been a nurse since 1988.

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