Some things may seem scarily different as you leave nursing school and enter a real-life hospital environment. 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! From the amount and variety of people you care for to the ever-increasing demands of work, there are many reasons why you could be made to feel browbeaten by this new step in your life.
Going into an unfamiliar environment is stressful enough on its own. However, the demand piles up when you must be professional, courteous, and friendly while caring for many individuals’ health. What can be especially unsettling for new nurses is the number of new faces around them – from administrative staff to various doctors,, consultants, and even porters; this can be 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 help to smooth things along and perhaps bring interesting opportunities in the future.
As you get to know people, you will eventually find someone you get along with. A fellow team member, or perhaps a more seasoned nurse or doctor, can be an excellent mentor to guide you in your professional practice. Not only will this help your relationship with your colleagues, but you will become a much better nurse and feel more confident in your abilities as time passes.
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 deny yourself the ability to grow – not only can this be dangerous for your professional status, but it is a danger for your patients. Healthcare is an ever-changing field, and new paradigms are being developed almost daily. Of course, you cannot keep up with every little development, but to bring the best degree of care for your patients, you should continually develop and sharpen your nursing skills.
Always remember there are no ‘stupid’ questions – any question is good! By having this mindset, you will develop your skills and 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 colors. So, you can stop relying on memory so much. Feel free to look up medications before administering them, look up refreshers on certain skills, look up blood test ranges, and so on. 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! 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! Having quick reference guides on you, physical or digital, is not something you should consider as ‘cheating.’ By spending more time on the task rather than expending mental energy trying to remember obscure facts, you not only help yourself remain destressed and effective but also help your colleagues and patients by being a better nurse.’
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 to help you gain confidence over time and improve your career prospects.
Put Yourself First
As you care for others, you should also take care of yourself. Many nurses overlook basic needs like getting enough sleep or eating well. With the job’s demands, these things can be essential, ensuring you get enough sleep and don’t skip meals during the day! You can even ask the people 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! Many nurses feel overwhelmed during their first year on the job, so it’s not uncommon for some to drop out completely.
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 do, always remember to be proud of putting yourself number one – not only does this help you, but it also ensures that you are at peak efficiency to care for others, too.
Overall, there is no doubt that being a nurse is a difficult job, especially when starting. However, it would help if you always tried 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 occasionally – ultimately, you should put yourself first and care for yourself just as you would care for others to be the best nurse you can be!