5 Things New Nurses Need to Know Before Their First Shift

by Carmela Nazareno on February 3, 2015

tips-for-new-nurses

You did it. You’ve successfully completed nursing school. You’ve survived exams, clinicals, and more all-nighters than most people can handle.  Your vigorous job hunt has led you to your very first job as a nurse and you can’t wait to make your debut in the real nursing world. Keep in mind: nursing school may not have taught you everything you need to know to make your first day on the job as great as it can be. Here are a five things you should know before taking that first shift: 

  1. You can learn something from every person you meet, but you have to be willing. Just getting to the point where you are now is a huge accomplishment in itself. By now, you’re probably feeling confident and well-equipped. Nursing is a team effort and your first shift is the prime time for learning the ropes around your new work place. You’ve heard the phrase ‘lead by example.‘Remember that it’s just as  important to ‘learn by example,‘ so don’t be afraid to ask questions and be open to learning from more experienced nurses.
  2. Watch your words. Your words reflect who you are. It will take time for you to get comfortable in delivering your true message whether it be to patients or to your colleagues. Your nerves may interfere when you’re speaking. That’s okay. Slow down, take a deep breath, and practice in your mind what you want to say. Ask yourself, “what is the point I want to get across?” and speak from that. Most importantly, speak from your heart.
  3. Plan for the worst but hope for the best. Confidence is key to a great first day in any job. But too much of it can leave you clueless about unforeseen circumstances. When something goes wrong, don’t panic. Have a plan and a designated go-to person for when such circumstances arise. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to help. It makes them feel good that you trust and respect their guidance.
  4. Every challenge teaches a lesson. When things go wrong as they sometimes will, don’t bury yourself in blame. Expect to be challenged during your first day. Expect to be challenged from that point forward. Nursing is a challenging profession, but when you redeem yourself in those tough moments, you’ll realize why you were faced with those challenges and how to better handle them in the future.
  5. Celebrate your accomplishments. By becoming a nurse, you’ve probably made your friends and family proud. What about yourself? At the end of the day, it was your unyielding determination that created a nurse in you. Buy yourself a gift, treat yourself to a great meal, go on that trip you’ve been dreaming about. You most certainly deserve it!

Got additional tips for nurses who are embarking on their very first nursing jobs? What lessons have you learned from that time? What do you wish you knew then? Please share your insight in the comments below!

For more first-day-on-the-job advice for new nurses, head over to NurseBuff.com.

 

Whether you are a first-time nurse or a seasoned healthcare professional, you can find the nursing job of your dreams at Soliant.com.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joanne B 03.14.15 at 5:54 pm

“Plan for the worst but hope for the best” is the kind of thinking I always have every single day going to work! Great article for sure. I can also relate to this one read I found a few days ago: http://qdnurses.com/nursing-resources/nursing-school/5-things-no-one-told-you-about-nursing-school/

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