Becoming a nurse isn’t easy. Becoming a certified nurse takes years of education and several hundreds of hours’ worth of clinical experience. The good news is that there’s plenty of job security since it’s an in-demand profession. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are expected to grow by 9% by 2030, with over 276,000 new openings.
However, nursing can be a tough job for any entrant. And the coronavirus pandemic is a testament to this fact. Shortage of nursing staff, an increase in patients’ healthcare needs, and workplace safety can make the job pretty daunting for any new nurse. So if you’ve just landed your first nursing job and are stressed out, we can understand why. But relax! We know what you may be going through. And to help you out, here are a few tips that can help you in your initial days as a frontline medical worker.
Your job is to take care of patients, but not at the cost of your well-being. While it is good to show enthusiasm for your new job, don’t forget to prioritize yourself. Practice self-care to stay sane and healthy. Find hobbies you enjoy and habits that keep you healthy and make them a part of your routine. These could be anything from knitting to booking a relaxing day at the spa to relax your mind, body, and soul.
Wit- did you honestly think you’re done after being a Registered Nurse? Wrong! Nursing is a profession that requiraes you to constantly update your medical know-how and skills. So start thinking about educational opportunities now. Higher education can help you advance your career and unlock more exciting opportunities. You could enroll in an online degree in nursing to upskill yourself. Taking the online route helps you create a flexible learning schedule around your new job and achieve a better work-life balance. This also brings us to the next tip on this list.
Create a work-life balance
Understaffing compels some healthcare facilities to make their nurses work multiple shifts. While you may not have much liberty to choose your working hours in the beginning, creating a work-life balance is essential to remain healthy and productive at work. If you overwork yourself, you’ll be burned out and falter on the job. Burned-out nurses are prone to making medical errors and compromising patients’ health, which can be fatal in some cases.
So, learn to draw healthy boundaries between personal and professional life. Use planners, time management apps, and alarms to sort out activities and tasks. Choose your work hours carefully and avoid burdening yourself with too much work. It is important to say ‘no’ sometimes.
Pay attention and learn
Establishing an excellent communication level with your mentor or nurse manager is ideal. Regardless of whether you like the person or not, you need to pay attention. Without taking time to ensure you and your mentor are on the same page, you won’t be able to learn more or enhance your skillset.
Observation is essential, so don’t hold back on gazing upon things that make you curious or if you don’t understand something. Hold productive meetings with your senior nurse and discuss any problems you may face related to treatment, work, or life. Your mentor/nurse manager can further assist in tackling the challenges you may experience. It would help to take notes in a notepad s that you can review them later. Asking questions will clear your ambiguities and prevent you from making mistakes.
As a new nurse, it is essential that you formally express your questions to seek clarity. So don’t shy away. Instead, be confident. If you are uncertain about delivering a particular treatment, ask senior nurses for help. If you have uncertainties regarding protocols and work policies, seek clarity by asking about them.
Be nice to patients
It is easy to become frustrated and angry with so much work. Negative attributes can easily affect your work ethic. It can bring your overall performance down and impact the way patients perceive you. The lack of positive energy you give off won’t make you feel any better either. So lose the negative energy and smile when you’re with patients.
Your patients are most likely in pain. Therefore, you must empathize with their state and show compassion. By being friendly to your patients, you can make work easier for yourself while also ensuring they have a pleasant stay at the hospital. It will positively impact patients’ overall satisfaction levels and improve recovery outcomes.
Organize your tasks
Being an efficient nurse is more challenging than being a disorganized one. And if you don’t organize yourself, you’ll have a hard time getting any work done on your shift. So, learn how to prioritize and organize your work-related tasks.
Creating a to-do list, or having a template for your nursing report, can help you streamline your productivity and efficiency. It can help you deliver better patient care on time, especially when working in the ER. Set your tasks according to what’s most important, and do it first.
Work on your relationship with your colleagues
Every healthcare faculty operates as a team- or at least that’s how it should run. The entire medical team works in sync to provide the best medical care to patients. Your tasks are just as important as anyone else’s, and despite the size of the tasks, seeking aid from peers can be helpful for patients in the long run.
So, work on building good professional relationships with other healthcare workers. Discover what challenges your peers have gone through and get insights about how they overcame their problems and challenges. Use this information to improve team dynamics and provide patients with better care.
Work on your mental health
Working in healthcare can be stressful, especially for new entrants. You may experience a considerable amount of mental stress during the experience. Don’t let this stress affect your work and your health. A mentally exhausted nurse of little use to patients and healthcare teams. So if you feel you need help, seek professional help by meeting a mental health professional. It will help you preserve your mental well-being on the job.
Practicing the tips mentioned above can make work and life more manageable for you as a new nurse. Remember that your goal as a nurse should be improving patient care outcomes. While it may seem overwhelming at first, take things one day at a time. Use technology to your advantage and make your work more straightforward. Incorporate good habits to stay mentally and physically healthy. If you’re struggling to cope, get help from a support system of friends, family, and coworkers.
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