10 Tips Every New Nurse Needs To Know
There are some tiny details in a nurse’s everyday routine you will not find in the job description. Some of these details get hard to figure out and a new nurse can feel intimidated over the first year of his or her career.
However, there are solutions. In this post, we have ten tips for new nurses to make their everyday lives better. Keep reading and be prepared for your first year as a nurse.
Why Is Being a New Nurse That Hard?
School is great and you can actually develop some pretty amazing nursing skills. But, on the other hand, it is mainly theory. Practice is what makes this job scary because this is when you are expected to take care of real patients while, at the same time, you are building your nursing career.
This alone means that you have to be good at what you do while you are doing it for the first time. On the top of it, you have to deal with human lives.
Sounds scary already, right? Don’t worry! Just keep reading.
1. Be Honest
There are going to be times when you will not have the answer to every single question. And it’s totally ok.
As a new nurse, you are most likely going to be afraid that people are going to judge and think that your questions are stupid or even worthless. No, they are not. If you don’t ask a question you will never learn the answer.
Most importantly, when you don’t really know how to do something, you might be risking a patient’s health, so being curious is the only way to do things better and faster. Also, there is a whole study about asking questions and how it improves your learning!
2. Create a Schedule and Stick to It
Let’s be honest. You have a lot of stuff to do during your shift.
You have medication to take care of, tons of paperwork involving insurance plans, chores and more. You need to create a chart to help you keep track of all the different tasks you have to do during your day.
Most of the hospitals you are going to work at are going to have a system you can work on, like reports you need to fill or computer charting. In any case, you also need to keep your own schedule and write down everything you need to do at the time you must.
A safe way to do so is to create a to-do list for each patient you have. We know it can be a lot of work but it will eventually save you both time and energy. Keep your system personal and do what fits your needs best.
Okay. You need to create a schedule and work according to it. But you know how this job is. Sometimes, everything needs to be put on pause and work on something that might need more attention at the moment.
This is when you must put your prioritization skills in motion.
If something can wait a couple of hours just because you must do something else, then let it wait. Nurses, both new and experienced, sometimes forget that not everything is urgent and that there are tasks they can take care of later.
If you have to give a patient their vitamin C at 9 pm but something more important has come up, you can also give it to them at 10 or even 11 pm. On the other hand, there are pills, like IV antibiotics, which must be given at the right time.
Prioritization is not easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest responsibilities many professionals in many different industries fail to deal with every day.
Give yourself some time to practice and you will definitely be an expert at it!
4. Act Proactively
There two types of working professionals. There are the ones who want to do as much as they can as soon as their shift starts and the ones who distribute their time evenly. As a nurse, you never know what a shift holds.
So, getting down and dirty as soon as possible is the best you can do in order to have more time to relax later by taking care only of the schedules tasks that you have put in your chart.
5. Take Breaks
There are many people who believe that taking a break is just another form of procrastination. Forgive us to tell you otherwise but this is totally incorrect.
As a first-year nurse, you will have so much anxiety to deal with that you might forget to go to the bathroom or even grab a bite during your shift.
Well, you have to stop that. You need to sit down, take care of yourself first, and then take care of others.
Science has once again proved the importance of taking a break.
When you start taking care of yourself, you will eventually notice that you will have more energy to work better, faster, and more efficiently.
6. Work Well with Your Team
A nurse’s job is highly dependent on other people you work with. There are going to be doctors, other nurses, patients, cleaners… You need to work well with every single member of your team!
The only way to do so is by being helpful.
Get in touch with your cooperative, approachable side, and be there to help when things get out of control. You’ll see that you will be needed so many times that you are going to lose count.
There are going to be days when you will feel like your job is more hectic than you expected. Take a breath and, when things get crazy, you can always ask your co-workers for some help. If you’ve helped them in the past, they will want to help you too.
Teamwork is based on equal give and take. Keep that in mind!
7. Form Relationships
No. Not everyone is going to be your friend. Moreover, some people are not going to like you that much and you will not like all of them either. But you need to try.
When you are at work, make sure you get along with almost everyone you work with. Get to know as many people as you can so you can make your shift feel much better and less as a struggle.
Try and make people like you. This way you will be able to ask for help, inside information and, who knows? You might find your next best friend in your workplace.
Another great way to create meaningful relationships is by showing your co-workers that they matter. Get them a gift for Christmas or Thanksgiving!
8. Keep Getting Better
Let’s address the obvious: In this industry, enough is not enough. Nurses, either new or experienced, need to keep learning. You are no different.
Read books, journals, studies. Watch nursing YouTube channels and try to be the best version of your professional self! If you want to take it to the next level, you can always attend seminars, conferences or even webinars that will provide you with all the knowledge you need to get better.
Whatever your cup of tea might be, one thing is for sure. Don’t put your brain and skills into rest. And if you do not have the time to work on your skills out of your working hours, ask other, experienced nurses for help.
They will definitely be there for you. After all, we all love to work with experienced professionals so they will try to turn you into one.
9. Get Tough
You cannot have a weak stomach and be a nurse at the same time. You need to tough up and get used to seeing bad incidents and people who will not be in a great condition and might need your immediate help.
You have to familiarize yourself with images like that and be ready to jump in when you are most needed without second thoughts.
We know that this is not something you learn at school but, with a little experience, you will be able to be there any time needed.
10. Remember That It’s Not Always Going to Be That Hard
This is something you need to keep in mind from day one! The more you say this to yourself the easier your working life will get.
Being a nurse is a hard job and there are many reasons why there is a huge turnover. However, you need to give yourself some time to get used to it. Whatever you do, do not forget why you became a nurse in the first place.
Are You Ready For It?
Now that you know what is required for a successful first year as a new nurse, you are ready to get down and dirty. Click here to learn how to get your first nursing job and start helping those in needs.