Congratulations – you’re now a fully qualified, licensed nurse! It’s a great career choice with plenty of progression opportunities, and it’s also a role you can be proud of. However, even though you might think the hard part is over now that your studies are behind you, don’t be fooled. It’s no secret that nursing is a tough job, but when you begin working in this role, you might start to realize how hard it truly is. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in your new place of employment as a nurse, don’t let it deter you from sticking to your career. Below are a few useful tips for newly qualified nurses to help them adjust from trainee to professional.
Find a Mentor
Some hospitals or other healthcare centers that you might be working at have mentorship schemes in place. If there is one at your place of work, take advantage of this. Having a mentor is a great way to get quality support as you transition into working life as a nurse. Your mentor will be able to give you advice and feedback on your performance, discuss your potential future career options, and even introduce you to useful contacts that you might want to take advantage of at a later date. If there is no mentorship scheme in place, you can always ask a more senior nurse on your team if they’d be willing to act like you mentor.
Consider Further Study
As you’ve just finished your bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing, enrolling in another course might be the last thing you want to do! It’s good to take a break and get settled into your role as a professional nurse, but if you want to progress in your career, you should certainly consider further study. Some positions will require you to do this, so depending on what path you want to take, this might be a non-negotiable requirement. You can study for a master’s degree in nursing, and if you wanted to push yourself even further, you could even get a Ph.D. and become a doctor of nursing practice. The more qualifications you have, the more options there are for you in terms of a career.
You might start to feel overwhelmed as you adjust to professional life as a nurse, and this is perfectly natural. Everyone feels this way when they first start, but whatever you do, make sure you’re practicing good self-care to help get you through it. Although you might feel stressed, try to get a good night’s sleep, so you feel more rested. Eat well, exercise to boost your mood, or enjoy a soak in a hot bath after a long day. There will be particularly tough days, so make sure you’re giving yourself some TLC when you get home.
Ask for Help
It can be a bit intimidating when you first get onto the ward or wherever you’re working as a nurse, especially when you’re surrounded by seasoned nurses who make the job look easy. If you’re unsure about something, don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. It’s much better to double-check things when you’re a nurse, as in certain circumstances, it could mean the difference between life and death. Even if you feel like you’re a nuisance, don’t worry about it – always ask for help if you’re uncertain or feel like you’re struggling.
Patience is a key trait that nurses need to have, but it’s not always easy to maintain that kind of attitude. Sometimes you will deal with rude patients, relatives, even other members of staff might be short with you if they’re stressed. While you should never have to put up with abuse from anyone, try to be patient when people are a bit difficult. Often, it’s because they are scared, stressed, and feeling helpless, particularly if they’re patients or relatives.
You will be busy with your nursing duties each day but remind yourself to pay close attention to what the more established members of the nursing staff are doing. Observing how they work will help to give you some ideas and tips about how you can make your work more efficient, or how to deal with certain situations successfully.
Get to Know Your Team
Finally, make an effort to get to know the rest of your team. You will need to support each other each day and getting to know each other on a more personal level can help to form stronger bonds which will encourage better teamwork. You will go through a lot with your fellow nurses, and it’s important to know you can trust one another and feel more like a family than colleagues.
If you’re feeling nervous about your first day as a newly qualified nurse, don’t be. Just remember these tips to help you settle into your new job a bit easier.