You amazingly did it. You’ve completed your nursing school and your job hunt has led you to your very first job. Now you are ready to start your career as a new grade nurse. Do you know what it takes to be a new nurse? Knowing a few tips and tricks is critical in surviving your first year as a nurse. Being a new nurse on the floor can be terrifying especially when handling all the complex cases. There will always be ups and downs, days where you want to adapt to your new job, difficult decision-making situations, and you’ll learn a lot of things that you haven’t learned before.
But it doesn’t have to be tough. Be aware of your career and the hospital environment. And it’s time to learn your practical knowledge, possibly that your school hasn’t taught you before. Here are some tips you need to know before taking your very first shift:
Face Your Challenges
Everything is going to be different. You have started your first career and it’s going to be different than your college life. You’ll face a lot of challenges, you’ll have a lot of questions, and it may be the most difficult time of your life. But remember every challenge helps you to learn new things. You can learn something new from every person you meet, but you need to be willing to take challenges. Taking a decision to be a nurse, looking out for undergraduate nursing scholarships, enrolling in a reputed nursing institute, and completing your program are great achievements. But as your career evolves, you’ll need to learn more medical tips and terms.
Every challenge teaches a new lesson. Expect to be challenged during your first few months, be ready to make quick decisions, and do come up with patient care plans. As a fresher, you’ll be joined under a team. This is your time to watch and learn how to deal with critical care patients. Your well-experienced colleagues may know how to do a thing in a much easier way. Watch how they’re handling the situation and do take note of every detail.
Be a Helpful Team Member
Nursing is a team effort and your first job is the prime time for learning the best. Observe how your experienced colleagues would talk and move around the situation, take note of everything they’re teaching you. They’ll surely know plenty of tips and tricks. Communication is the primary pillar when you’re working with a team of nurses. If something is missed about a symptom or a medication, life could be in danger. Be adaptable. If you have more spare time, ask another nurse if they need any help. Even if a member of your team is absent, a well-functioning nursing team should be able to adjust and fill in where needed. As a team, it’s essential to know what your plans are for each emergency situation and stick with it. And importantly, trustworthiness is essential in the world of nursing, and the best way to grow trust is to get to be comfortable with one another. Build more connections and keep them.
Think Before You Speak
Speak from your heart or you can say watch your words before talking to someone. This is something you can easily adapt to your career and lifestyle also because being polite and thinking before you speak will surely help you to build confidence. If you want to be a good nurse out there, you have to be a patient first. It means to place yourself on their feet before talking to them. And this will help you to remember how your patient feels. This is not a time to make snap judgments on them. They all are unique. You are probably seeing them under the worst conditions. Because when people are sick their life is out of their control – it badly influences their behavior, mood, and responses. You have to know they can be lonely too.
Be kind to them even when they are screaming at you. Your job will be easier when you try to get to know them better. Practice yourself before meeting them or you can think of them as if they are your family. If they were your family, how would you treat them? This will help you to treat them as you would want your family or yourself treated. Smile and greet them when you enter their room, continuously talk to them while doing your tasks. As long as you want to cheer them up, you also have to respect their privacy. Sometimes they want to be alone too.
Develop Time Management Skills
One of the things you’re going to need is – excellent time management skills. Not just patient care is a priority, but a nurse must also administer treatment plans, distribute medications to patients, explain the situation to the patient and their loved ones, and schedule and perform certain tests. And an effective time management skill is the primary key to making all these obligations to work.
Set priorities – this one can be tough, and it won’t happen overnight. Practicing how to prioritize complex tasks can be one of the biggest challenges you face. Ask yourself these: what are the first tasks should I carry out today and why? Are there any consequences if I don’t act now? What’s important for patients? When will be the test labs available? Initially, it may seem very hard to make certain decisions but eventually, you’ll be an expert managing your time.
Prepare in Advance
Mentally and physically prepare yourself for long shifts. In addition to that, you might have to schedule your whole lifestyle according to your shifts. Bring healthy snacks with you, whenever you get spare time boost yourself with your snacks. It might feel like caffeine can get you all up during your night shift – but also keep in mind the fact that too much caffeine is not good for your health. By keeping low levels of caffeine in your system, you avoid the crash. You can take a walk, consume more water, or listen to your favorite tracks during those times. Anything healthy is better. You might have to bring extra scrubs, in case you needed some – you’ll never know when you need a clean scrub to continue your day. Take some practice to fix your body language, and here are some to remember:
- When you enter a patient’s room, greet them. Possibly a chit-chat will lighten the mood.
- Talk from your heart. Use a sincere smile to spread warmth and friendliness.
- Look at the eyes of the person you’re talking with to show your interest.
- If they have any doubts regarding their treatment plan, it’s your job to explain to them. Let them be informed about their health. Assure them it’s going to be okay.
Practice Self-Care From the Start
Take care of yourself first. You can’t take care of anyone else if your mental and physical health is not ok. Your long working hours are going to put you under stress sometimes. You can’t perform well if you’re stressed or tired. At first, it may seem okay to constantly take care of your patients and attend to their needs, but you can’t do this properly if you let your own needs fall by the wayside. Do take your time for bathroom and meal breaks. Stay healthy – eat healthily, consume more water, get enough sleep, and do exercise.