Advice for New LVNs in California: Top Tips from Career Nurses

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One of our favorite aspects of the nursing profession is the mutual mentoring that we know new nurses and LVNs in California can look forward to. As one of the top LVN schools in Los Angeles, we’ve seen plenty of our students enter inexperienced and even nervous about working in the field. When they graduate and start working, we often hear back from them that they gain a lot of confidence and training from their peers.

Many of our LVN school graduates become mentors themselves, offering advice, help, and nurturing to new LVNs who enter the field after them. Nurses are always ready to pay it forward, especially with other nurses. 

We found some great advice from a variety of career nurses and collected them here. Ultimately, we hope you find these stories and insights as inspiring as we do.

What Does a Trauma Nurse Have to Say?

Nurse Valerio Pizzoferrato has been a trauma nurse since 2012. During that time, he has witnessed quite a bit of challenges, and that was before COVID hit. How does he keep his cool during even the toughest times and on the hardest days? Slow down he advises, and catch your breath. Take “time to identify your feelings and personal needs.” He also says that in his line of work, you just have to be prepared for intense situations. 

In the article, he’s quoted as saying, “As a trauma nurse, you have to be ready for just about anything,” he said. “You deal with patients whose lives are extremely vulnerable, and it’s not a simple job. A solid basis of advice from trauma nurses who have been in the game much longer than you can be extremely helpful.”

He went on to comment on how important mentorship is to him. “Find yourself a mentor, continue learning, and communicate clearly, and you’ll be on your way to becoming an excellent trauma nurse.”

Thanks, Valerio! We’ll keep that in mind!

Wisdom from First Year Nurses

There’s been nothing (and hopefully, there won’t be for quite some time) like seeing nurses start their careers during the pandemic. First year nurses have been critical to the fight against COVID, despite how challenging and exhausting the work clearly has been for all of them. 

Isabel Polmatier was one such student nurse who, according to this story, had to make many pivots while she was in school, including one to online learning. Of working right away during COVID, she said, “I think the biggest challenge was jumping right in during a pandemic,” noting that the stakes felt higher. 

She says in the story that “[I] went from learning the heart to, then in January, switching gears to a COVID unit learning respiratory, which was a whole different ballgame.” She’s also fast to point out that mentorship played a big role in her career transition, and that her colleagues “always took time to answer her questions and help her.” 

Her advice for nurses? Ask a lot of questions. “Ask all the questions you want. Everyone is here to support you…You’ll be a great nurse. Everyone learns at their own pace, and we’ll all get there together, and being a team only makes us stronger.”

“Expect the Unexpected Every Day”

This story really caught our eye because it’s entitled “Nurses: What advice would you give new nurses?” (Kind of perfect for a blog about mentorship, right?) Brad, an RN, is reassuring about the experience you get in nursing school, saying that it gives you “a fantastic foundation for all the learning you’ll continue to do while on the job, and it’s important to not let yourself get overwhelmed. It takes time to absorb new information – allow yourself a little bit of that.” 

Sam, an oncology nurse quoted in the article, also encourages asking questions. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions! It is always better to clarify something you are unsure of rather than potentially do something wrong.” Asking those questions, he thinks, helps you gain confidence as a new nurse, assistant, and LVN.

“Starting out as a new nurse is hard in the beginning! It is different than clinical rotations and you have more responsibility. Don’t get intimidated! Before you know it, all the tasks you do will feel like second nature and you will be able to critically think without second-guessing yourself. If you passed nursing school and you passed your NCLEX, you have the capability to be a wonderful nurse. Have confidence in yourself!”

The CDI Quick Guide for New LVNs

We put together this quick list of tips for new nurses to keep with you when things get overwhelming.

  1. Ask for help. We agree with our colleagues quoted above that the best thing to do is ask a lot of questions! Never be ashamed of what you don’t know, and it’s always okay to ask for help, even if things get busy.
  2. Listen to patients. Remember that even though you spend all of your time in a healthcare setting, most patients don’t. Take time to listen to them even when you’re busy, which will communicate how much you care right back to them.
  3. Take breaks. Everyone, even seasoned pros, need a few minutes to catch their breath every now and again. Take a minute when you need it to regroup!
  4. Talk to your fellow graduates regularly. You’re going to need the support system of your fellow grades from LVN school in Los Angeles as you all start out your careers together. Make sure to keep that group text going long after graduation! 
  5. Be firm with people. Yes, nursing is stressful. Under no circumstances can a sound and reasonable person harm you. Always ask for help and support if you’re struggling with an abusive patient.

For more tips, check out our blog post, Advice for New Nurses.
Have more questions for us? We’re here to answer them for you. As one of the top-rated LVN schools in California, trust us, we’ve heard all the stories and like to think that we have plenty of wisdom to share. Let us know how we can help you today with your career goals.

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