If you’ve recently graduated from nursing school, congratulations! You set a goal, and you reached it – and that’s a huge accomplishment. As a new nurse, you have a whole new set of challenges before you that nursing school might not have prepared you for. But with the right approach, you’ll handle them just as successfully. Here are some tips to help you transition from rookie caregiver to pro nurse in no time.
Six Ways to Make Being a Rookie Nurse Easier
- Acknowledge that you’ll continue learning throughout your nursing career. You may have finished nursing school, but your learning curve will continue – and that’s okay. In fact, if you’re not learning something new nearly every day, you won’t be doing yourself or your patients any favors. Remember that being a nurse means constantly learning and facing challenges you’ve never experienced before.
- Ask questions the right way. Asking questions is absolutely necessary when you’re a new nurse. No matter how busy your fellow RNs are, asking is always better than guessing. The trick is to ask a question in the right way, so you get the answer you need. Be specific. Instead of asking how to do something in general, try naming the patient, explaining the situation or problem you’re having, and asking for guidance. Saying, “How would you approach this?” is a good way to enlist the help of a more knowledgeable peer.
- Avoid complaining. Just as with asking questions, there are effective and ineffective ways of presenting problems to your supervisors. Complaining doesn’t garner much cooperation – or sympathy. Chances are, your supervisor has the same complaints as you do! Instead, be straightforward. Assess the situation, explain where the supervisor might be of assistance, and ask for his or her help in resolving the issue. Using phrases like, “Here are some resources that I need,” or “Can we set up a time to brainstorm some solutions?” can signal that you are a problem-solver, not a complainer.
- Find an outlet for stress. Let’s face it: venting to loved ones is not fair – especially if they’ve been listening to you through years of nursing school. Now that you’ve started your new nursing career, it’s possible that your friends, partner or kids would like to talk about something other than healthcare. So make an effort to find an online nursing forum where you can vent when you need to. Look up a fellow rookie nurse who understands what you’re going through. Or, banish your frustrations by exercising them away. Going for a walk or run, or hitting the gym for an hour can lift your spirits and keep you healthy, too. It could even save your relationships!
- Learn to delegate. From the start, work at developing positive relationships with nursing assistants and techs. Value them and make them part of your team, so you can delegate tasks instead of trying to do all the work yourself. By helping them, asking for their advice and showing respect for their contributions, you’ll find it easier to delegate tasks to aides or techs when you need assistance.
- Remember why you’re there. It’s sometimes easy to forget why you became a nurse when you’re working hard to master all of your new duties. So take a breath, smile and focus on your patients. All of your education, skills and knowledge are for their benefit. So remember to speak to – not at – them, and interact with them when you are giving care.
Make a Successful Transition From Rookie to Seasoned Nurse
When you’re a new nurse, patience is the best gift you can give yourself. Feeling like a seasoned pro can take more time than you think it should, but that’s perfectly normal. You’re sure to run into lots of new challenges and even some surprises – so use these six rookie nurse tips to make the transition easier and more successful.