Straight out of nursing school, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? You better prepare yourself for some hectic days of work, a strange and new environment of uniforms, as well as those dreaded night shifts you’ve heard so much about.
To manage as a new nurse and make the most out of this early hands-on learning, it’s a good idea to research and read as much as possible. It might not make your first month smooth and successful, but it could help you to cope with stress and find moments of peace in the midst of chaos.
Luckily for you, there are a vast amount of resources readily available for fresh nurses – all gathered and seconded by seasoned professionals. Use them for inspiration, motivation, or to broaden your knowledge of the nursing profession in general – it’s good for you, so read up.
Lean on their experience
It seems to be a consensus among nursing graduates that they don’t feel like they’re receiving enough guidance during their first few months in the workplace. We all know that to feel confident in a new situation and to master new tasks, we are going to have to practice. Being a nurse makes this truer than ever, and experienced nurses do well in remembering this; the support they’re able to offer nursing graduates is of immense value to them.
Reach out to your seniors when you feel dazed and confused, unsure or just looking for a bit of general advice. Make sure that they know how much you appreciate their help, how much you actually depend on it to do your job well, and notice how the support comes more easily.
It’s a typical bad trait to roll your eyes at the newcomers, thinking that they’re only going to create more work with all their questions. Talk to someone about getting a mentor if you’re a new nurse and feel lonely, disconnected, and terrified of making a mistake but too afraid to ask.
Although it’s bad style not to help and offer advice to inexperienced nurses, you can’t force it out of them; rather make your needs heard and look for a steady someone for guidance.
Take care of yourself
Being new as a nurse is tough and sometimes even lonely, it’s no secret anymore. The second most important thing you can do to make this initial period a bit easier is to look after your own health. We’re talking the right amount of sleep, staying hydrated, eating right, and being serious about your exercise in your spare time.
It seems strange to celebrate your individual needs so loudly when, in reality, your job is to look after others – but a nurse is a busy and often stressed person who won’t perform well if her needs are neglected.
There is a lot you can do to look better after yourself, and the best place to start is with your sleep cycles. You’d want to have a look at this article before you start your very first night-shift, as well as finding ways to treat yourself throughout the day. Snack on fruit and vegetables, take breaks as often as you need to and practice meditation techniques to stress less. Have a look at this article on the top 5 comfiest shoes for nurses, too, and you’re well on your way.
It’s alright to make mistakes
With all this talk about keeping cool and staying calm in challenging situations, one might think that being a nurse is all about stress. It’s not the reason we keep talking about it; when you have a lot of responsibility, and particularly with regards to the health of other people, society depends on you to be calm and proactive. That doesn’t mean that you need to take a deep breath every fifth minute not to panic – or that you shouldn’t feel stressed or make mistakes at all.
In fact, as a new nurse, you’re expected to make a few mistakes, just like you expect more experienced nurses to offer their help and guidance. Get most of them out of the way as soon as you can, learn from them, and move on – it’s the only way to prosper and broaden your knowledge. If any of the seasoned nurses throw shade when you’re in need of advice, ask them about how their first months were back in the days.
Most likely, they were just as confused as you, frustrated over poor mentorship and scared out of their wits to make a mistake; they need a reminder now and then to stop being cynical. Befriend as many as you can and take advantage of their knowledge to feel more secure – it will only get better with time, you know.
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