15 Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to Know

15 Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to Know

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, NHCPS

posted on Apr 22, 2016, at 4:04 pm

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Fifteen Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to Know

NOW THAT YOU’VE FINALLY GOTTEN YOUR FIRST JOB AS A NEW NURSE, you’re probably are feeling a ton of new pressure. Being a nurse is by no means an easy profession, but you can do it! To jump-start your career as a new nurse, apply these 15 little known tips all new nurses need to know!

1. Get the most out of your mentor

Mentoring is a two-way street, get the most out of this valuable relationship. Here are our tips:

 

  • Be a good mentee by asking questions, taking notes, practicing what you’ve learned, respecting time and space and always saying thank you.
  • Establish goals and expectations by writing your objectives down and sharing them with your mentor.
  • Find the best method of communication for both of you – not everyone is a texter!
  • Learn from your nursing mentor, but don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t seem right – you might be right!
  • Connect outside of the hospital if you want to by grabbing a coffee, going for a walk, or meeting somewhere new!

 

2. Stop complaining and remain calm

Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to Know
No one likes a complainer, so don’t be one! The people around you don’t need your negativity burdening their days, and complaining about your problems will only make them worse. You can vent, but take it easy and try to end with a positive note. Asking for advice and simply stating your problems are two completely different mindsets – learn the difference!

 

3. Observe the experts

In the ever-changing field of nursing, there is an endless amount of knowledge you can take in. Don’t graduate from nursing school with the mentality that you’ll never be a student again. Observe the experienced nurses and doctors around you. Implement their advice, reminders and mannerisms whenever you can.

 

4.Expect the worse but hold integrity

You can never know what to expect in your line of work. Expect the worse whenever you can without turning into a “Negative Nancy”. Just be prepared for bad things to happen so that you aren’t caught off guard. Keep your integrity by being honest with yourself and those around you – but know that upsetting things will happen.

 

5. Ask questions and ask for help

While it may not appear this way – all nurses were in your unproven position at the start of their career. They’ve all been there, and if they are kind and understanding, they will want to answer your questions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions you may feel are silly – the line of work you are has no room for silly questions – they don’t exist! So ask away! If another nurse offers to take a patient from you because they can tell you need some help, let him or her but learn from what they are doing!

 

6. Bond with your new team

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to try and be best friends with everyone you meet, or even that you have to be friends with your nurse pals outside of work, but approach your co-workers like friends. You’ll feel a sense of family within your unit, you’ll be willing to ask for more help when you need it and you’ll generally feel more valuable. If you can, make the extra effort on befriending unit managers, as they are often the most knowledgeable and experienced nurses in the unit.

 

7. Understand when you need to re-charge

Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to Know
Don’t be that nurse who “never needs a break” during your first year as a nurse. Everyone needs a break! Accept the break and give yourself 15 minutes to recharge. While this may seem like a wasted 15, a bit of R&R will result in improved efficiency throughout the day. In addition – the things on your to do list can wait 5 minutes while you use the restroom!

For tips on the healthiest, easiest, energy-boosting snacks, check out our post: “The 10 Quickest and Easiest Ways to Stay Healthy as a Nurse”

 

8. Establish a routine

Establishing a routine is practice that will take time as you learn the best ways to operate within your unit. Without it, you’ll be frantic. Having one, however, puts you in control and allows you to be efficient. Get to work early, get the supplies you need, update yourself by reading the flyers and triple check the tasks you can. At the end of your shift, ask yourself if there is anything little thing you can do to establish more of a routine on your next shift!

 

9. Be respectful to yourself and others to earn respect

Don’t be trapped into thinking that those few show off, “better than you” nurses who pay no attention to you or attempt to haze you are better than you. Don’t cave into their selfishness by thinking you need to earn their respect. Instead, be an honest, respectful, professional nurse to earn their respect. Don’t come across as a know-it-all but also don’t be a sucker. Learn the names of all the nurses you work with, be polite and honest and ask questions. This is the ultimate formula to earning and giving respect as a new nurse!

 

10. Know nursing etiquette

Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to KnowNurses require professional etiquette. There are several things you can focus on to maintain this basic politeness.

 

  • Have a firm, quality handshake
  • Don’t gossip – have on track conversations
  • Include a signature block on all emails
  • Place a name tag on the right side of your chest

There are several other tips on etiquette we love on kathleenpagana.com, which can be found by clicking here .

 

11. Be prepared when asking for the doctor

Make this interaction as smooth and quick as possible. Before you call in a doctor – make a list of things you need to mention. Have you pen, paper and patient charts handy and be ready to take notes. Write down the instructions given so that you can refer to them when you forget – that’s inevitable!

 

12. Take notes and be organized

Little Known Tips All New Nurses Need to Know
You will be overwhelmed with the demands and requests from your patients and co-workers, and it’s unavoidable that you will forget things at times. To avoid this, consider keeping a personal notebook with you and write everything down. Eventually you’ll be able to ditch the note taking, but begin training your brain to be as organized as an experienced nurse, takes time. Until then, don’t be ashamed of going the extra mile to be organized.

 

13. Be efficient

This may take practice, but you’ll need to learn to be efficient and prepared at all times. Start out by keeping things in your pockets (saline flushes, clamps, scissors, tape, alcohol swabs, etc. ) so that you are always prepared for a patient’s needs. Also, learn to group tasks together. Be on time so that you don’t inconvenience your co-workers – time wasted on filling in for your absence or attempting to contact you is wasted!

 

14. Learn to prioritize

This, like being efficient, is another practice you will learn with experience over time. Look at your list of “to-do’s” – don’t just attempt to check everything off the list individually. Instead, look at the bigger picture! As your colleague is giving you a patient’s report during shift change, start to formulate a plan. As soon as you can, jot the plan down in the form of concept maps, checklists or a timeline. Time slotting is extremely important – do not attempt to multitask, especially when it comes to medications.

 

15. Invest in continuing education when you can

As a nurse, you can always be a “student” by learning more. Investing in continuing education will allow you to move up the ladder sooner than later. Find a unit you would like to work for, and engross yourself in education. You can take local or online courses specific to the unit you desire. In addition, stay up to date with your certifications and always look for knowledge outside of the hospital.

Check out our blog: “25 Books Every Nurse Ought to Read”

With these helpful tips in mind, you are now ready to begin your nursing career on the right foot. A passion for helping others from the minute they were born to the last moments of their lives is something in itself you should be proud of! NHCPS is thankful for all nurses, including new nurses just like you.

 

Let’s find community and help one another out – Comment below any other tips you wish you would have known as a new nurse!

 

Follow NHCPS on Instagram!

 

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.thompson@nhcps.com.
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