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After you’ve completed your nursing degree and passed the NCLEX, you’re ready to embark on a fast-paced and fulfilling career in healthcare. Working as a new nurse can be stressful, but a few helpful tips for first-year nurses can help ease the transition from nursing education to real-life experience.
Health care is a team effort. You’re never working completely alone; rather, large teams of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers coordinate to provide excellent patient care and treatment. A good way to get started as a new nurse is to get to know the people you’ll be working with. In addition to making you feel more comfortable, these people can be an invaluable resource when you need help.
As a new nurse, you will probably make some mistakes. Though you may be exceptionally well-prepared by your nursing degree, you’re still human, and mistakes are inevitable. Just remember that every mistake is a lesson. Instead of dwelling on your errors, learn from them to avoid making the same mistake in the future. This is how you’ll become a seasoned and experienced nurse.
Time management is an essential skill for working nurses. That’s why one of the best tips for first-year nurses is to learn to prioritize tasks. On a daily basis, you’ll probably have to juggle many important tasks for various patients including updating charts, checking patient condition, and administering medications. Identifying the most critical tasks and completing them first will make you more efficient and reduce your stress.
No one will expect you to know everything the second you start working as a nurse. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help; it demonstrates your willingness to learn and to ensure that you’re doing things correctly. Asking questions can help you stay on top of ever-changing policies, treatments, and procedures.
As with any industry, a mentor can help shorten your learning curve at work and help you develop clearer career objectives. Learning from an established nurse means you’ll have access to expertise and career advice from someone who has been in your shoes and is further along in your career path.
When you start in a new healthcare setting, especially as a first-year nurse, you’ll have to learn a lot of new tasks and policies specific to that institution. Though you’ll eventually become an expert at doing things like patient charts, it may take some time to get the hang of it when you’re just starting out. Accuracy is more important than speed. Speed and automaticity with tasks will come with more practice.
When you’re working a 12-hour shift, dealing with difficult patients, and feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do, it’s important to remember why you got into nursing in the first place. Being on the front lines of healthcare is not always easy, but it’s always fulfilling if you stop to think about the difference you’re making in so many people’s lives.