If you’ve just graduated from nursing school and you’re about to enter your first shift as a qualified, working nurse, you might be feeling truly overwhelmed – and that’s okay! It will take you some time to adjust to your new role. To help you prepare for some of the practical sides of your job, we’ve compiled our top ten tips to help you transition into the world of nursing.
- Get a pair of really, really comfortable shoes
You’re about to spend a lot more time on your feet. It’s a good idea to invest in a pair of shoes which offer you proper ergonomic support, which are closed to protect you from spills and splashes, and which aren’t going to give you blisters after wearing them for a full shift.
- Keep a notebook.
Keep a small, portable notebook and pen or pencil for checklists, to write down the names of doctors, and to make note of hospital policies. Just because you’re a qualified nurse, that doesn’t mean you don’t still have a lot to learn. It helps to write down things you learn on the job so that you’ll remember them in future.
- Pay attention during the orientation program
It might not seem like a big deal, but the orientation program that your new healthcare facility will offer is an excellent opportunity to observe the work culture of your new employer and to familiarise yourself with the layout of your facility.
- Identify a mentor
Find a more experienced member of your new team that you feel comfortable with and defer to them with any clinical questions. A learner needs a teacher!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Ask if you can observe a procedure, double check what the right treatment program is…never be afraid to ask a silly question, because it could prevent a silly mistake!
- Check name bracelets and allergies every time you give meds
Sometimes in a tired, medicated, or otherwise unwell state, patients will forget what medications they are allergic to. Even after asking them, check their records and name bracelets to ensure that you are not giving them something which will induce an allergic reaction.
- Manage your workload
Segment your tasks into pieces so that you aren’t overwhelmed by everything that you have to do at once.
- If you’re on night shift, take your sleep schedule, meals, and exercise routine seriously
The night shift is a beast. Make sure that you are taking proper care of yourself by prioritising your personal health.
- Accept that you are going to make mistakes
While it’s good to aspire to being the best that you can be, you are bound to make many mistakes in the beginning of your career. As long as you keep calm and learn from them, you’re making progress.
- Remember that this takes time
It takes about a year to become proficient and comfortable in pretty much any professional role. Nursing is no different! Relax, abandon any ideas of perfectionism, and remember why you started doing this in the first place.
We hope you find these tips helpful! For more pointers on how to handle the world of professional nursing, browse our other blog articles on the site.