Starting a new job in any profession is nerve-wracking and worrying, but starting a job in nursing has that down pat. It’s a job that is filled with expectations and promise, filled with adrenaline and exhilarating experiences that can affect you for the rest of your career. It’s also a job that is tinged with uncertainty. Nurses are lifelines in a hospital or care facility, often taking the brunt of the work from the doctors and making life and death decisions that can change an outcome in an instant. While hospitals and care facilities look to their bottom line and profit margins as a matter of importance, nurses are running the floor and caring for the patients, ensuring medications and schedules are set and adhered to. They’re the people that mop us up and keep us going until the doctor comes in and assesses what treatment is necessary. No one can tell you that nursing is a boring profession, because in reality no two days are ever the same. You don’t even stay in the same ward half the time, with the choice of whom you work with being varied and challenging on a daily basis.
Graduates that have just emerged from school can attest to the fact that they are often racing to keep up with new medical technologies and treatments, so it does make sense that a lot of nurses wonder what they’ll need to succeed as the years go on. Some nurses want to keep on top of their knowledge by investing in CPR certification online to keep themselves refreshed to new ways of doing things. Staying current when searching for a nursing position is vital, as you want to be able to show prospective employers that you know what you are doing and know what you are talking about. While you can keep on top of treatments and technologies, there are other ways that you need to succeed as a nurse. You need to have an unlimited amount of empathy for your patients, be an excellent multi-tasker and be a perfectionist. When it comes to interviewing for nursing positions, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have these qualities under your belt along with a staggering amount of education. You have to really want it; nursing is a vocation, and interviewers want to see you demonstrate your passion for nursing.
Once you’ve nailed a job interview and you have some offers on the table, the next step is nailing that job from the day that you get in the building. It doesn’t matter whether you are working in the community, in a hospital or in a care facility elsewhere, you need to be one hundred percent on your game from day one. You should listen to the experienced nurses who can advise you correctly about the environment that you are interested in working in, and then you should be able to walk into your very first day in the nursing profession with your head held high. So, to be able to start your first day on a good footing, check out these ten ways that you can nail your new job.
Learning Opportunities. As a nurse, you’ll have already been through years of training and courses to prepare you for being on the floor and in charge of the wellbeing of other people. The thing is, the learning opportunities don’t just stop the moment that you finish your degree and start work. Every single day in a nursing position there is a chance to learn something from someone higher than you in the role. If you want to hit the ground running and really show what you are made of, you need to be willing to grab every chance to learn that there is and show your boss and your boss’ boss that you mean business and you want to do well.
Find A Mentor. On your first day, you’ll be put with another nurse in a higher position so that they can show you the ropes. This is your mentor and you should aim to work with them as closely as possible, so that you can learn from them and share in their wisdom. Ideally, you’ll hit it off with your new mentor from the get-go, but people don’t always gel, so if you’re finding it hard you should speak to the ward manager about being reassigned. This may not be easy but it’s a good way to show you are eager to learn and you want to do so with people that you click with.
Office Politics. You may be working on your feet all day with nurses and patients, but the politics in the workplace are very real wherever you work. It can be tempting to assess the arena you are working in and try to fit in, but you need to take a step back and assess whether you want to get involved in that or learn the appropriate professional responses.
Teamwork. Your team are going to be taking notice of the way you work pretty much from day one. You need to be able to show that you aren’t afraid of a challenge – even if you are nervous on the inside – and that you are tenacious enough to be willing to try something new. Where you can, roll up your sleeves and get stuck into the job, helping where you can and asking questions at appropriate times. Building yourself into the team is going to count when you need help in return; and it wouldn’t hurt to bring snacks with you on your first day to keep you memorable!
Approachability. You need to be teachable as a nurse. Those in charge will want you to be up to speed with the way things are running as quickly as possible, and while you want to be learning and taking up some of the slack, you don’t want to be dumped on. Make yourself approachable and teachable to your mentor and you will always be regarded as one to rely on when things get tough day to day.
Observe. You can learn so much from those around you simply by stepping back and watching before diving in. Learning from others what works and what doesn’t will make such a difference to how quickly you catch on to the way that things are done.
Prioritise. Ideally, your mentor will have met with you and gone through some goals with you when you first joined the company. You need to learn on your feet as a nurse, and part of that will be learning to prioritise the neediest patients. It also means that you discuss with management how things are done, while making suggestions that are helpful if you can spot a way to streamline a process. Often, management appreciate an appraising eye from a newbie compared to someone who has been there a while, and it shows willingness for accuracy and efficiency.
Befriend Others. Whether you are in a hospital or a community setting, you are not working in a vacuum. It’s not just you against the world and so you need to befriend the people that you are working for on all levels. You’re not above anyone or beneath anyone – yes, by rank, but not as a person and that’s how you should treat people. Make an effort in your post and you will be the person everyone wants to work with.
Rest. Nursing is gruelling work. It takes a physical toll on your body when you’re on your spine and feet for up to twelve hours at a time on a shift, and it takes a huge toll on your mental health. As a nurse, you get to see people enter the world and leave the world and you get to see them at their very desperate. It’s not a position that is for the faint of heart, but you’d know that already from your training. You should always make time to destress and unwind after a shift. While it can be tempting to work overtime for the extra cash, you can’t be in a position to look after patients if you haven’t looked after yourself.
Time. Your position is going to take some time to settle into. Never give up on yourself or the place that you work when things look a little bleak. Everyone has bad days at work and sometimes the frustration comes from the very people that you work for. Change is a frightening thing and you need to roll with it rather than bear against it.
Your new nursing position could have the potential to change your life, if you only let it. It can either propel your career forward, or it could show you that you are in the wrong area of nursing and open your eyes to other areas you are interested in. Take your time to find your feet, and you will be be a part of the new company in no time at all.