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Top tips for newly qualified nurses

Tagged In:  Nursing

Starting your first year as a registered nurse is exciting but can also be a daunting prospect. Here are our top 10 survival tips.

Every year the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) receives around 11,000 applications for registration from newly qualified nurses. Whether you're joining a general ward or a specialist unit such as intensive therapy, your first year in your nursing job will probably be as challenging as it is rewarding. So, here are a few ideas and suggestions (some of which we’ve heard from our candidates and others from what we’ve read) to help you settle into your new role as quickly as possible.

1. Don't panic!

You shouldn't be over-confident, but you should have faith in your ability to do the job. Remember, this is what you've trained so hard for and you've earned the right to be where you are.

2. Ask questions

Don't be afraid to turn to a more experienced colleague for help if you don't know or don't understand something. It's much better to ask questions than to make a mistake which could have serious consequences.

3. Write things down

You'll have to take in a lot of information and you can't be expected to absorb it all right away. So, it's important to write things down. You can make yourself handy reminders and notes which you can review when you have a quiet moment.

4. Organise and prioritise

Everybody has their own system for prioritizing, but many of the nurses we place write a 'to do' list each day and prioritise the tasks on it. You'll find it helps you be more productive and avoid that feeling of being overwhelmed.

5. More haste, less speed

Don't be tempted to rush things, even when you're under pressure. Good time management is about being calm, methodical and efficient, not super-speedy. Try to get things done too quickly and you'll be prone to error.

6. Buddy up

Many hospitals operate a 'buddying' system for newly qualified nurses to be mentored by a more experienced colleague. Even it that's not formally available, it's worth building a close working relationship with one of two key co-workers who can offer you advice and feedback.

7. Learn from your mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes, so don't dwell on them and beat yourself up. The important thing is to understand what you did wrong and learn from the experience so it doesn't happen again.

8.  Be a team player

There are no 'lone wolves' in healthcare. Everyone, from doctors to allied health professionals, is part of a team. Therefore, it's vital to be able to engage and cooperate effectively with your colleagues.

9. I've started, so I'll finish

Make sure you follow through on every task. If you leave something unfinished, there's a good chance you'll either forget about it or other commitments will take over and distract you from it.

10. Relax

Nursing can be a challenging and stressful occupation at times, so it's important to find ways to chill out and switch off when you're away from work.

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