6 tips for new nurses

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Starting your first nursing job is an exciting milestone in your health care career. Needless to say, you're excited and have picked out a few new sets of scrubs and have invested in a comfortable pair of nursing shoes, which will work together to show off your personal style while maintaining professionalism.

Of course, perfecting your look is the easy part. Getting through your shift is more difficult to prepare for. Rest assured knowing that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to complete any tasks that come your way. 

Know that it takes time
It'll take time for you to get used to the layout – of the hospital, medical supplies the paperwork and other everyday details. Your fellow nurses won't expect you to work at the pace that they do. Therefore, don't panic if you're feeling a bit lost in your first few days. Don't hesitate to ask other nurses for help. You're working on a team and they're happy to provide support and guidance.

Remember best practices
Once you get more used to the job, you'll discover and develop best practices that make the job easier. This includes your morning routine of donning your scrubs, tying up your hair and slipping into your nurse shoes. It also applies to your daily responsibilities, such as figuring out your roster, making your rounds and administering medications to patients. 

Keep these six tips in mind as you work on best practices. 

1. Write everything down: As a nurse, you'll be handling a lot of information, especially in your first few days as you learn the ropes. Carry a small notebook to take down any details that you might forget and for quick references. This can document details including patient names or where certain items are kept.

2. Thank everyone: Always leave a good and lasting impression by thanking everyone who lends you a hand, whether it's your co-worker, an aide or the janitor. You're one member of a large team with a wide range of responsibilities that keeps the hospital running smoothly. 

3. Figure out priorities: The nature of the job can be stressful. You'll be handling multiple patients at once, some of whom require medication. At times, your tasks may overlap, so knowing which tasks to prioritize is important. If in doubt, ask a fellow nurse for guidance. He or she will have a better idea of which task should be completed first.

4. Work closely with your mentor: Your mentor is there to guide and train you. He or she is your go-to person for your first year of nursing. Even after your mentorship period ends, find another experienced nurse who's willing to take you under his or her wing. There's always more you can learn on and about the job, and there's nobody better suited to help you do so than someone who's been in the industry for many years.

5. Take breaks: Finding a few minutes to yourself may seem impossible in such a fast-paced and demanding work environment. However, doing so will allow you to have some much-needed downtime. After all, you'll most likely be working long shifts, so re-energizing yourself is essential. 

6. Keep up with your to-do list: There will be tasks for you as soon as you start your shift. Rather than take it slowly, try to clear your to-do list early on to avoid having too many responsibilities stack up. Staying on top of your duties will give you more opportunities to slow down and relax later in the day.

Nursing is an important profession that impacts the well-being of others, so take your time in learning the ins and outs of the job. Above all, remember to have fun and enjoy your work!

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