If you’re in nursing school or are just starting out in the nursing world, your life can be a bit hectic and stressful. There are plenty of things to learn, plenty of experiences to have, and most importantly, plenty of mistakes to make. You’re going to screw things up a lot a lot as a nursing student or as a new nurse—that’s just part of the learning experience. However, some mistakes can definitely be avoided.

In this blog, the online CE course specialists at Provider Skills will help you learn some of the most common mistakes that nurses make. These are not technical, skill-based mistakes, but are instead mistakes that are made because of a flawed mentality or approach to nursing and the nursing lifestyle. Keep these mistakes in mind, and you’ll be able to avoid many of them as you advance in the nursing world!

You don’t ask questions.

Whether you’re in the classroom or working at a medical center, this is perhaps the biggest mistake that a nurse at any stage of the game can make. If you’re unsure about a procedure, a medical term, or a best practice, it’s in your best interests to ask the question. However, many nurses are afraid to ask these questions because they feel like their superiors, colleagues, classmates, or professors might look down on them because they don’t already know the answer—or because they’re afraid they’re asking a “stupid question.”

Ultimately, asking a question has the opposite effect on those who have the answers—it shows them that you’re an active participant in the activity or class or procedure, and you want to learn more so you can improve your skills and become a better nurse. That’s something your teachers and bosses will celebrate throughout your entire nursing career.

The moment you stop asking questions, you stop learning altogether. But if you stay curious and keep learning from people with more knowledge and wisdom, you’ll be an expert at your craft before you know it.

You don’t answer questions.

Sometimes, the most knowledgeable people in the workplace are often the least likely to offer their knowledge to others. Why does this happen? Ultimately, some people are afraid to answer questions from others, either because they don’t have confidence in their knowledge or they don’t want to say something incorrect that damages their credibility. Either way, this hesitance doesn’t help anyone in the workplace.

There will always be things you won’t know about nursing—it’ll take to a career worth of learning to know half of what there is to know. But if you do know the answer to someone’s question, you have to let them know! This helps other, less experienced nurses learn, and it helps you learn, too—after all, being able to explain a complex concept in a simple way is proof that you have a thorough understanding of that concept.

Don’t be afraid to answer a question. Even if you don’t quite answer the question completely or don’t quite understand the concept as well as you could, it’ll show your peers that you’re taking initiative and working hard to help other people on your team.

You don’t offer to help others.

As current medical professionals and educators, we can safely say that in 95 percent of medical situations, your coworkers and bosses could use a little bit of help. With more and more understaffed medical centers and overworked employees, people can use all the help they can get—so don’t be afraid to offer up your assistance if you have the time. You’ll show your coworkers that you want to make them less stressed and more productive—and when you need a hand with something, they’ll be more than willing to help you out. This improves teamwork across a staff, and helps people create closer professional and personal connections that lead to better medical care for patients. It’s almost like helping helps everyone!

You like to complain.

Everyone has a bad day at work every once in awhile—one thing after another will go wrong, and before you know it, you wish the day hadn’t even happened. On days like this, it’s perfectly fine to get home, take your shoes and scrubs off, pour yourself a stiff drink, and complain and groan a little bit. It’s therapeutic, and it’s necessary.

However, complaining at work is another thing entirely. We all know a nurse who sighs once per minute and always has something to complain about when it comes to the nursing workload, difficult patients, or her aching feet. She probably smokes a lot of cigarettes outside the ER, too. These are not the nurses who create a positive work environment or have the best work performance. In fact, some of these nurses can actually bring the entire team down with their negativity and poor attitude.

Now think about everyone’s favorite nurse on staff. She’s positive, energetic, determined, and seemingly tireless—even when her feet are killing her. She might have the occasional moment where she makes a comment about a patient or needs to blow off some steam after a difficult situation—but after that, she’s right back to work, helping patients to the best of her ability.

Which nurse do you want to be—the nurse who complains and seems defeated by every tiny roadblock, or the nurse who works hard and can’t be fazed? One brings the entire team down, and the other lifts the team up.

That’s it for Part 1 of our series on the biggest mistakes nurses and nursing students can make. Stay tuned for Part 2, and check out our other blog posts in the meantime!