15 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!

tips new nurses need to know1. 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!

Image of Stressed Person2. Stop complaining and remain calm

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.

Image of a clock7. Understand when you need to re-charge

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!

Handshake with Doctor10. Know nursing etiquette

Nurses 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!

Taking notes12. Take notes and be organized

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!

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About Mackenzie Thompson, Life Saver, NHCPS

Mackenzie is a seasoned life saver and a multifaceted professional in the medical field. With an impressive 8-year track record in medical education, Mackenzie boasts a comprehensive set of certifications, including ACLS, PALS, BLS, and CPR, which reflect her unwavering commitment and expertise. Her significant contributions to teaching and the development of medical content underscore her profound knowledge and dedication to advancing healthcare.

Beyond her medical prowess, Mackenzie seamlessly integrates her passion for education with her proficiency in media and marketing. Her academic journey at Indiana University culminated in a degree in Media and Marketing, further solidifying her expertise in these domains.

In addition to her impressive professional achievements, Mackenzie possesses a refined taste for global exploration, photography, design aesthetics, sartorial elegance, and the culinary arts, with a particular affinity for Chinese cuisine. Currently based in the vibrant city of Manhattan, she continues to be a driving force in the medical community. She is an invaluable asset to SaveaLife.com, where she champions excellence and innovation with unwavering dedication.

Contact Mackenzie Thompson, Life Saver, NHCPS at.

10 responses

  1. Adam Golightly Avatar
    Adam Golightly

    My aunt has been thinking about how she can be more efficient and productive in her job. She would love to get some help to learn more about nursing from a professional. I liked what you said about how she should understand how to take care of herself, and work better with her teams as friends.

    1. Greta Kviklyte Avatar
      Greta Kviklyte

      Thank you for the comment, best of luck to your aunt!

  2. aref.mozafari Avatar
    aref.mozafari

    Hello. As a nurse, I enjoyed reading this and it was very helpful.

    1.  Avatar

      Thank you, We are glad you enjoyed it!

  3. aref.mozafari Avatar
    aref.mozafari

    I am a nurse at Sina Hospital in Tehran (one of the hospitals of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran) and we would like to use the information on your site for career advancement and cooperate with you.

    1.  Avatar

      Wonderful! Thanks for reaching out. We’d love to learn more about how we can further help! Please email us at et@nhcps.com.

  4. Paul Nwogu Avatar
    Paul Nwogu

    I am seriously desirous of going into a nursing profession. what is the most convenient route to achieve this. I am currently a lawyer in Nigeria

    1.  Avatar
      ali.drian@savealife.com

      Hi there, Paul. Thank you for sharing your interest in nursing. We suggest reviewing some of our other blogs for more information on the pathway to becoming a nurse and some courses you can take prior to kickstart your nursing career. See this article for a list of helpful resources and courses, and this article to review the future of nursing careers in 2023. If you need any further assistance in getting signed up for a course, please reach out to our customer service at customerservice@nhcps.com.

  5. Joan Drauby Avatar
    Joan Drauby

    Continue to pick your preceptors brain and never stop asking questions for sure. Great info.

    1.  Avatar
      ali.drian@savealife.com

      Thank you, Joan. We are glad to know you enjoyed it.

  6. Spiffy Meds Avatar
    Spiffy Meds

    Thanks again for taking the time to compile these tips and sharing them with us. It’s resources like these that help new nurses like me feel more confident and prepared as we embark on this rewarding but challenging journey. Keep up the great work!

    1.  Avatar
      paula.c

      You’re very welcome! We are glad to hear that you find the tips helpful. Nursing can indeed be challenging, but it’s also gratifying. You’re on a fantastic journey, and we wish you all the best as you continue to grow and learn in your nursing career! If you ever need more advice or assistance, please reach out.

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