Nurses are bound to learn a lot of valuable lessons over the course of their career, not just for practicing medicine but also in life. Being a nurse can be mentally and physically exhausting, especially if you’re right out of nursing school and you just landed your first job. The good news is that some more experienced nurses have some words of wisdom for you that should take some of the sting out of these growing pains. If you’re just starting out as a nurse, use these lessons to make the best of your new position.
New nurses tend to be on edge for the first few months as they gradually warm up to their new working environment. But being on edge shouldn’t mean that new nurses should be afraid to ask questions. Some nurses will be determined to figure out everything on their own without asking for help, but this can make the situation worse.
If you have a question on the floor, ask someone right away, otherwise you might waste time trying to solve the problem yourself.
Know Your Place
Some new nurses think they have everything figured out. Maybe they got a perfect GPA in nursing school or they think healthcare is a cinch. But these new nurses are bound to make waves for all the wrong reasons by acting like they run the joint.
If you’re a new nurse, remember that some people have dedicated years of their life to this facility. Respect your peers, especially those that have been there longer than you.
Find a Mentor
Being a nurse is a real challenge that’s not to be underestimated. Everyone gets burnt-out or suffers from fatigue from time to time. That’s why finding a mentor can be so beneficial. New nurses might feel isolated on the floor for the first few months or year, but instead of suffering in silence, everyone should try to make a connection with an older, more experienced nurse for when the going gets tough.
Even if new nurses think they have everything under control, they could start to slip up under pressure at any moment. Instead of rushing through a procedure, new nurses need to learn how to slow down and do it right the first time.
If you feel like you’re racing to draw a patient’s blood or run a routine test because it feels urgent, remember that accuracy is more important than finishing early.
Don’t Neglect Self-Care
No, new nurses are not invincible, regardless of how they may feel. A person just starting out on the floor may think that they have the endurance to keep working without a lot of sleep or a proper meal, but this usually ends in fatigue, depression or nurse burn-out.
If you’ve just landed your first nursing job, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your body before, during, and after your shift. A lack of sleep or eating whatever you find in the vending machine day in and day out can make your job nearly impossible if you continue to neglect self-care.