As you leave nursing school and enter a real-life hospital environment, some things may seem scarily different. From the amount and variety of people that you care for, to the ever-increasing demands of work, there are many reasons as to why you could be made to feel browbeaten by this new step in your life. However, fear not: read on to find out how you can become a better nurse, be more confident, and avoid burning out as you begin your new career in nursing!
Going into an unfamiliar environment is stressful enough on its own. However, the demand really piles up when you have to be professional, courteous, and friendly all the while caring for the health of many individuals. What can be especially unsettling for new nurses is the number of new faces around them – from administrative staff to various doctors and consultants and even porters, this can be really overwhelming, especially when you are expected to settle in very quickly and effectively.
There is, thankfully, a way to break the proverbial ice and fit in with your new team – introducing yourself. Your colleagues would be more than happy to get to know you better, and the more people you are familiar with, the more comfortable you will become within your unit. Furthermore, you never know where life can take you, so talking to the right person can really help to smooth things along and perhaps bring interesting opportunities in the future.
As you get to know people, you will eventually find someone that you really get along with. A fellow team member, or perhaps a more seasoned nurse or doctor, can be a really good mentor to guide you in your professional practice. Not only will this help your relationship with your fellow colleagues, but you will become a much better nurse and will feel more confident in your abilities as time goes on.
Even though you might have heard this many times before, it’s vitally important that you ask questions. Not asking questions means that, over time, you lose out on knowledge and you deny yourself the ability to grow – not only can this be dangerous for your professional status, but it is, at the end of the day, a danger for your patients. Healthcare is an ever-changing field, and there are new paradigms being developed almost every day. Of course, you cannot keep up with every single little development, but in order to bring the best degree of care for your patients, you should try and aim to continually develop and sharpen your nursing skills.
Always remember that there are no ‘stupid’ questions – any question is a good question! By having this mindset, not only will you develop your own skills, but you will come across as a better nurse to others too, because it will look like you care and are not pretending to be a know-it-all.
Look Things Up
You are now a registered nurse – you have passed all your exams with flying colours. So, you can stop relying on memory so much. Feel free to look up medications before you administer them, look up refreshers on certain skills, look up blood test ranges, and so on. Having quick reference guides on you, physical or digital, is not something that you should look down upon as ‘cheating’. By spending more time on the task at hand rather than expending mental energy trying to remember obscure facts, you not only help yourself remain destressed and effective, but you also help your colleagues and patients alike by being a better nurse. Over time these things will become ingrained in your memory, but at the start of your career, it’s recommended that you look some things up, too!
If you are a very dedicated person and are committed to your work, another way to develop your nursing skills, perhaps at a later stage in your career, is looking into an online graduate nursing program that you can complete from the comfort of your own home – click here to find out more. This can be an invaluable tool that can help you to gain a lot of confidence over time and improve your career prospects.
Put Yourself First
As you take care of others, you should also take care of yourself. Many nurses feel overwhelmed during their first year on the job, and so it’s not uncommon for some to even drop out completely. Many nurses overlook basic needs like getting enough sleep or eating well. With how demanding the job is, these things can be really important so make sure you get enough sleep throughout the day and don’t skip on meals during the day! You can even ask the people that you live with to respect your sleep schedule, especially if you have irregular shift work unless it is an emergency – that way, you can be sure that you will be fully rested for a new day at work!
If it all gets too much, never be afraid to speak out and seek help – try seeking help from one of your colleagues or going to your line manager for a referral. Even speaking to your partner or family can help if you feel comfortable doing so. Whatever you end up doing, always remember to be proud for putting yourself number one – not only does this help you, but it also ensures that you are at peak efficiency to be able to care for others, too.
Overall, there is no doubt that being a nurse is a difficult job, especially when starting out. However, you should always try to involve yourself in the workplace – getting to know your team, and asking for help whenever you need it, will pay off dividends later on. Remember also that there is no shame in looking things up from time to time – ultimately, you should put yourself first and care for yourself just as you would care for others in order to be the best nurse you can be!