Your First Year as a Nurse: Advice for New Nurses

Your First Year as a Nurse: Advice for New Nurses

Congratulations on passing nursing school and making it into the nursing world! You are now a qualified and registered nurse, so how can you survive your first year as a nurse? Here’s what you need to know.

On Your First Year as a Nurse

Working as a professional nurse is an exciting and scary thought. You are new to the job, but at the same time, you have the skills needed to do it. Your first year as a nurse is a year for adjustments, and I will be honest with you, it will be difficult. It’s like everything you learned in nursing school is poking you all at once! You will discover different skills and techniques used in the trade, AND you will probably be tired all the time. Long shifts, overtime, and toxic days are ahead of you. But, don’t worry, if anyone before you made it, so can you! Following these pieces of advice will help you survive and thrive in this wonderful career.

It’s OK not to know everything

One of the anxieties that new nurses experience is that they expect to be good at what they do right away. You are not going to master every technique, procedure, or hospital protocol in one year. Give yourself some time to adjust to your new environment. Remember, your first year is a year for adjustments, so give yourself some room to learn. Bear in mind that your new domain is different from nursing school, so relax. It is OK not to know everything. I know you want to be good at your job, but take one step at a time. After all, being a nurse is a job that requires patience, so be patient with yourself. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

As a nurse, you must have a curious nature. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Many new nurses are afraid to ask questions because it may sound like they admit to something they don’t know. However, asking questions is also an excellent way to learn. So, don’t hesitate to ask questions. It will show that you are interested in learning something new and that you are open to new things and not afraid to speak up. 

Develop your time management skills

One of the skills you must develop during your first year as a nurse is time management. Keep in mind that your priority is patient care, but as you do, you also need to meet the hospital management’s expectations and coworkers. Learning how to use your time effectively can help you in this situation. 

Get to know who you are working with

Remember your coworkers’ names, and make sure to say hello when you meet them in corridors. As a new nurse, it is essential to make friends and build relations with your colleagues. So, be polite and cooperate with your coworkers. Seek advice from your mentors and colleagues. Not only is this important in your profession, but it will also help in surviving your first year as a nurse. Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone you can trust and laugh with on your team when things get tough? Of course!

Sign up in classes or volunteer to enhance your nursing skills

Your life as a nurse does not only revolve around the hospital. During your first year, be sure to sign up for additional classes to enhance your nursing skills. Volunteering for events, internships, and nursing drives also enhances your nursing knowledge. It will hone your skills and prepare you for your career as a full-pledge nurse. 

Join nursing organizations 

Becoming a member of nursing organizations is beneficial on your part as a new nurse. Being a part of these networks broadens your opportunity to find work and resources. It is also an excellent way to make connections in the professional nursing world. If you decide to join a nursing organization, make sure that it is close to the chosen area of the nursing field you would like to work. For example, if you wish to be a part of psychiatric-mental health nursing, you can join the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. 

Prioritize self-care for you. 

Many new nurses experience anxiety and stress during their first year as a nurse. That said, it is crucial to take care of your mental health too. As a nurse, you are the health care provider, but what happens when you are not well yourself? How can you deliver quality care to your patients? So, take care of yourself; exercise, meditate, eat healthily, and get enough rest. Not only are you taking care of yourself and your mental health, but it will also help you from burning out. 

The Reality of Your First Year as a Nurse

It will be challenging, but it will also be one of the best years of your life! As a new nurse, you are like an infant. You may have a license to work as a nurse and the knowledge to apply, but just like a growing baby, you also need to take small steps. 

Of course, there will be days when everything else is extra tricky, but don’t give up! Stay positive, and instead of feeling down, list the things you don’t know of and see what you can do to correct them. Read new nursing trends, be updated with the latest in the nursing community, build relationships in and out of your workplace – anything is possible! Yes, your first year will be tough, but if you focus on the good things, your time will fly by, and the next thing you know, you’re on your way to better opportunities. So, enjoy the experience, and most importantly, enjoy the opportunity of helping others. Good luck!

 

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