6 Tips to Succeed at Your First Nursing Job

Staff Writer
Apr 26, 2022

You’ve graduated from nursing school and are about to start your first shift as a Registered Nurse. At this point you should be feeling equal parts excitement and nervousness. A great way to combat your anxiety is to prepare for success. Here are 6 tips to help you succeed at your first nursing job.

1. Be teachable.

If you’ve graduated from nursing school, one would assume you’re quite teachable at this point. Never let this habit fade. You’ll be surrounded by seasoned nurses who have a wealth of knowledge. Absorb the lessons they’re willing to share and apply them immediately.

2. Look and listen.

Situational awareness will go a long way in your nursing career. Make sure you take plenty of time to observe the unit. Listen to how the team communicates. Watch how the team works together. Adjust how you work and communicate accordingly. Remember, it’s your job to adjust to your surroundings – not the other way around.

3. Show you’re reliable.

A great way to prove you can be trusted is to show up on time. Better yet, show up at least 20 minutes early! Review patient charts ahead of your shift and ask for feedback from your preceptor. Taking the initiative will go a long way towards demonstrating you the right person for the job.

4. Humor yourself.

In the right context, humor can be an excellent way to ease your patient’s (and your) nerves. Find humor wherever you can.

5. Be a team player.

This one is needs little explanation. Offer to help before being asked. Lend yourself to your fellow nurses. You’ll quickly gain the trust and respect of your coworkers.

6. Give it time.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as a new nurse. Nursing school can only prepare you for so much. Take the lumps in stride, adapt, be fluid, and grow. This is the first step in what should be a long and meaningful career, so give yourself time to get acclimated.


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