Are you on your way to your first ever shift in nursing scrubs? Are you anxious about your performance at your first nursing job? Don’t despair; there’s nothing to worry about!
Landing a well-paying job and your first year as a nurse will be more challenging than nursing school. Even if you have passed the NCLEX-RN exam and found your workplace, you need to brace yourself for the challenges ahead. On your way to looking for job openings, landing a good one, and thriving in it, you’ll encounter several obstacles. Thus, you need to prepare yourself mentally and learn a few tips to help you succeed down the road. That said, we have listed a few tips below to help you map your action plan from scratch.
Prepare for scoring your first nursing job
Nursing jobs are in demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated over 3 million nursing jobs in 2020, and these numbers have gone up since the pandemic. So bring out you’re a-game because it’ll be competitive out there.
Look for the best jobs available in the market, and brush up your interview skills. If you’re looking for a nursing job post a master’s degree, consider reading up MSN interview questions to familiarize yourself with what potential employers are looking for and might ask you. Being prepared will ensure you clear the screening process and land a good job.
Listen and observe
When you start observing your team members working in the ward, you will soon model their behavior. This includes things like being punctual, efficient, etc. Similarly, carefully observing patients and listening to their woes will help you understand them better and empathize with them. Situational awareness is an effective strategy to become the best care provider. It will help you bond with your patients, take notice of the details related to their disease, and provide the best possible care.
Developing your listening and observational skills will go a long way in your nursing career. Also, ensure to listen to how your team communicates and works together. Realigning your team’s way of communication will help you blend well among them.
If you want to become a better nurse, shed your fears and muster the courage to ask questions. If you don’t understand even a tiny detail, ask right away. Never think about how your supervisors and seniors will think of you. Instead, some senior nurses become eager to teach the ones willing to learn. Just know that all your seniors have toed the very same path to be where they are today.
Most importantly, the intangible skills that seasoned nurses possess can’t be found in your nursing textbooks. So, grab the opportunity and never shy away from asking questions. If you adopt this one habit, you’ll be sure to succeed as a new nurse.
Find a mentor
Nursing is a challenging job. This job presents a few challenges that include long working hours, night shifts, physical and emotional drained, burnout, etc. You may find yourself looking for another career before your first year runs out. This is where a mentor comes in. A mentor serves as a guide for you on your career path.
Find a person you admire the most among your seniors and learn from them. Mentors not only help you hone your clinical skills, but also show you how to tackle unforeseen challenges, create a work-life balance, and keep you motivated. Your mentor will help you shape your career trajectory.
Learn to prioritize
The job of a nurse comes with plenty of planned and unplanned events. Many patients on a night shift or one difficult patient are enough to turn your schedule upside-down. And in all this chaos, you are likely to get overwhelmed, exhausted, or even burnout.
Thus, you must learn to prioritize. To make the most of your time in the hospital, it is good to break your shifts hourly and organize the tasks based on their importance. Also, don’t forget to take small breaks to soothe your frazzled nerves. With a little bit of organization and prioritization, you’ll be able to utilize your time effectively.
Give it some time
Your first year will be full of some good and some bad days. It is an inevitable part of every nurse’s journey. But the key is never to give up and learn to accept and adapt. You will feel down, demotivated, discouraged, and willing to give up on your bad days. But, to cope with a hard time, try to find the good in those bad days and learn from them.
Learn from your mistakes and make up for them by coming out stronger every time you get knocked out. If you give up too easily, you will soon regret your decision and feel guilty for not trying harder. Also, don’t forget to celebrate your good days and reward yourself for your little achievements. Your achievements will serve as reinforcers and help you become the best. Thus, cherish your good days and learn from the bad ones.
Your first nursing job will be full of challenges beyond your control. You will find yourself physically and emotionally drained most of the time. But no matter how many challenges your job throws at you, tackle them all. All you need to do is prepare ahead of time and adhere to a few helpful tips. A few tips like furthering your education, listening, observing, asking questions, following a mentor, etc., can help you thrive in your first job.