Starting Your First Nursing Job
Nursing is a rewarding healthcare profession that centers on caring for people, families and even the local communities where they live. The goal of nursing is to positively contribute to the wellbeing of a person so that they may reach, maintain and then recover optical quality of life as well as health from conception until death. Nursing programs allow new nurses the proper tools so that they can choose to work in any field among the large variety of specialties nurses deal with. Professional nurses can work alone or also as part of a team, but whichever way they work, nurses are dedicated to evaluating, assessing, implementing and planning care. A solid nursing education is a good preparer for work in this field, but not everything a person needs to know can be taught in school. The following are tips and advice for people just starting out in their first nurse jobs.
Being Prepared While Still in School
Even before new nurses get their first job, they should be preparing for the occasion while they are still in nursing school. If you are enrolled in online RN programs or take courses in a traditional university, you should already begin thinking about what unit in any given hospital you want to work in. To wit, nurses still enrolled in an RN program should make plans to talk to the head of the unit they want to work in while they are still in school. Building such a relationship with the head nurse of a unit even before graduation is invaluable because it may lead to budding nurses being given a few work hours in the unit that do not conflict with their school hours. Further, building such a relationship can lead to nurses being remembered by the head nurse of a particular unit when they graduate and need a job.
Know What is Being Offered
One good tip to remember before accepting the first nursing job that comes along is to make sure that you know exactly what is being offered. This is an especially good rule to remember as many new nurses get excited from the exhilaration of being offered new jobs quickly out of nursing schools. One pitfall in this approach is the narrow-minded loss of focus on what the new job brings with it. For instance, if the new nursing job is inside of an ER in a tough or bad part of town, then new nurses may not be accustomed to the kinds of patients they have to deal with, as some of them may well be gang-affiliated or all-around troublemakers.
Online Nursing Programs
Online nursing programs are mainly designed to give budding nurses a way to learn their profession, but these programs oftentimes fail to teach things that a nurse usually only learns on the job, when it may be too late to reconsider. For example, some new nurses may not be prepared to encounter the harshness of some of the realities on the job, such as actual medical errors that are made. When some new nurses are unlucky enough to witness other, more seasoned nurses making medical errors while on the job, two consequences can happen to them. One, they feel undermined in their confidence, and, two, they may actually feel a real fear of lawsuits coming their way if they make their own medical mistakes, which can make them rethink their job or career choice. All of these considerations are things that new nurses should think of while still in their LPN program.
Online LPN programs also cannot prepare new nurses for the sometimes harsh and unexpected realities of dealing with their co-workers. For instance, depending on the stress levels in the working environment of a hospital or a clinic, there may be internecine squabbles and bickering among fellow nurses. When this happens, new nurses may have the idea that their boss will simply step in, lay down the law, and then resolve the internecine fighting among co-workers. However, new nurses, who may be working for their very first boss in their professional career, may not be prepared for an indifferent boss who really does not want to be bothered with solving the problem or even likes to play different co-workers off of each other. Such a negative experience may sour new nurses to their profession, so, again, such possibilities must be thought of before graduation from nursing school.
Another area that may give new nurses trouble is the area of time management, which can be very important in having to handle a full load of four patients during a shift. Something that new nurses will discover quickly is that their supervisor during their orientation, which can last for several weeks, will be pressuring them to get their intervention with their patients done in a timelier and timelier fashion. That is why time management is so crucial to new nurses, and those who fail to succeed at time management and get the required number of patients cared for in a certain shift can feel adverse effects. These can be anything from headaches to breaking out in sweat to just having a general sense of fear and worry as they are performing their tasks. In such a situation breathing deeply and remaining calm are invaluable means of coping.
Getting a Mentor
A nursing career is a career that is filled with its fair share of challenges, so getting good advice before starting out in the job world as a real nurse is advisable. While a good education is always a solid foundation for success in the nursing profession, there are things that coursework just cannot teach budding nurses. That is why it is also recommended that budding nurses find themselves a mentor (an older, experienced nurse) who can show them the ropes, especially tricks of the trade that textbooks cannot teach and that only come from work experience in hospitals and clinics. Above all else, new nurses should understand that while they should not stress themselves out excessively by pushing themselves, they have entered a career that is quite demanding, so they should make a commitment to setting high standards.
Further resources to learn more about first nursing jobs:
- Nursing Jobs Help
- Finding Nursing Jobs
- Tips for New Nurses
- Military Nursing
- First Nursing Job Interview
- Succeeding In Your New Position