Nurses are among some of our most valuable medical professionals, especially in the current climate. The profession is expected to grow by 15% in the next 6 years, and that still likely won’t fulfill the need for replacing retired nurses and new positions. Put this together, and it becomes clear that there’s going to be an influx of new nurses in the years to come, and they will need support and guidance. Keeping that in mind, here are some useful tips for nurses just breaking into the profession.
Use your mentors well
Chances are, early on, you’ll find yourself working alongside a few veteran nurses. Don’t be afraid to pick their brains. Asking questions about simple things may seem embarrassing at first, but it’s ultimately going to make you a better nurse the sooner you learn. However, for a nurse, this can be a bit more difficult than other professions due to how busy things can be at times. As a result, you want to maximize the time by making notes on what you want to ask your mentor, and potentially connecting outside of work if they are willing/able.
Be a silent observer at times
In addition, you want to be in the habit of silently observing what they do around you as well. The medical field is one that’s constantly evolving, so you don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that your education is going to cover everything. Get ready to become an eternal student. Take a look at some of the practices of those around you and see if it makes sense to incorporate them into your own plans. If you’re confused, get into asking questions for the things you don’t understand.
Get to know everyone
If you’re working in a hospital setting, you may only be working face to face with a few teams most of the time. However, you want to introduce yourself to every relevant person in the facility. This includes doctors, dieticians, managers, and other figures. The main reason for this is simply to make things less awkward when you need to call on them for a work-related reason. It may not happen until well after you have started working, but it helps if they already know your face and name.
Learn about patient communication
Patient communication is one of those vital skills that is only built with practice. Make sure you do a good job of being attentive to patients and trying to validate their points and concerns. In many cases, the information they give will be vital to finding the best treatment. As a result, you want to make sure you are practicing empathy in your interactions and even working on your body language. Observing more experienced nurses can be helpful here.
Be patient with yourself
Like any job, you’re going to make mistakes. What’s important is that you don’t make the mistakes that could put anyone at risk, and that you are quick to correct anything that you do falter on. As a result, when mistakes do happen, you don’t want to get into the downward spiral of attacking yourself over your decisions. Instead, you want to focus on exactly what went wrong, what the consequences are, and how you can minimize the chance of that issue happening again.
Have a realistic (but not defeatist) mentality
Part of the medical field is understanding that not every outcome is going to be a positive one. As a result, you want to get in the habit of preparing yourself for the worst on each shift you have. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to automatically act as if something bad is going to happen. Being overly negative can make you less appealing to be around, which is the last thing you want as a new addition to the workplace.
Try and create a routine
Early on, when you are trying to find your way, a routine can be a valuable tool to help you try and get some regularity into your workday. Being overly frantic can cause you to miss certain steps and just generally be less effective. Getting your supplies, checking information, and understanding your task workflow during the day will make your life a lot easier. Just understand that eventually, you’re going to need to break that routine in an emergency scenario.
Don’t be afraid to take care of yourself
The mental health toll of being in the healthcare profession is something that’s hard to teach in nursing school, and you want to be aware of this now more than ever. As a result, make sure that you have plans to try and keep a work/life balance and support your mental health through this learning process. Not only is it a net positive for you, it will also make you more effective at your job.
Be sure to think about professional development
For that first year or two, chances are the only thing you may be focused on is just keeping your head above water. However, when the dust starts to settle and you get into a groove, it’s a good idea to start thinking about ways to further your own professional goals. This can mean pursuing further education or courses in order to increase your skills or get new certifications. Equally important is making sure you keep track of your existing certifications.
In both areas, online certification is a valuable tool, letting you get the information you need at your own pace. However, it’s important that you work with a trusted provider, as your workplace may not accept certification from every single provider out there. The ideal method to use here is working with ProMed. Our certification and recertification courses are designed by experts in compliance with AHA and ILCOR guidelines. If you’re not satisfied, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
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