Congratulations on passing your national certification exam and landing your first job! Relish in the feeling of accomplishment because you have a vast future in view. As new graduate nurses, you can accelerate your ambitions and convert them into concrete ventures if you elude common missteps such as poor financial choices and the lack of the artful but essential talent cheerfully labeled time management. Ultimately, the goal is that all new graduate nurses avoid these unassuming snares and breakout completely unscathed. And, it is essential that experienced nurses provide the tools so that all new graduates will be prepared for their upcoming journey.

For that reason alone, I will share invaluable knowledge that was given to me as a new graduate nurse by mentors like Deborah Thedford-Zimmerman MSN, RN, CWOCN and Tammy Davis, RN. As a fledgling nurse seeking guidance, these advisors conveyed two simple ways to evade those traps. Without hesitation, they literally uttered, “You must develop and master time management skills and become financially astute in hopes of successfully making it through your first year.” As a young adult, I was gracious and thanked them for their wisdom, but I literally said, “I could acquire that piece of advice from a guidebook.” Thankfully, I developed great relationships with both mentors, and they urged me to be completely candid. Therefore, they took out the time to clarify their sentiments. Here’s what they said….

  • Time Management Skills are Crucial.
    • I know that sounds utterly typical, but this sound advice powered my professional and personal endeavors. For instance, the routine of developing a plan limited my stress at work. As a rule, I would arrive at least 30 minutes before clocking in so that I could gauge the feel of the floor’s current atmosphere and successfully adjust so that I could do my best. Also, I knew that my assignment would be posted, and I liked delving into my patients’ charts unencumbered by call lights and pages. By creating plans beforehand, I utilized my time thoughtfully and evaded unnecessary stress.
    • Second, as a student enrolled in a nurse practitioner program, I relied on my time management skills to ensure that I completed all of my assignments. By applying this skill, I enjoyed and participated in social events. I can honestly say, you must have fun sometimes.
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You have completed your assessments, administered the 1st round of medications, and charted on all of your patients. You have mastered the art of time management.

  • Become Financially Astute.
    • Again, that statement sounds so cookie-cutter but let me put it into perspective. Let’s say you decide to pursue a graduate degree while you are working. So, it will be imperative that you do not invest in large financial obligations such as purchasing a house or a new car. With all honesty, I can attest that all graduate nursing programs are challenging, and most students at some point or another limit their working hours to a part-time or per diem basis. Consequently, if you did make a large financial leap, it may cause a looming financial strain, and you may be strained to work and your coursework may suffer. Also, some nurse’s delay furthering their education because they fell into this common pitfall.
  • Live Life Below Your Means. Save a Nest Egg.
    • Jokingly, these mentors said, “Continue to live like you did before earning your salary, but add small luxuries here and there.” Basically, while working as a nurse, I lived out of my 1st check. I was paid biweekly. So, I would pay my rent, utilities, groceries, etc. with my 1st check, and I placed my 2nd check in a savings account. As a result, towards the end of my nursing graduate program, I chose to stop working so that I could strictly focus on doing my best. Because of my spending habits, I could continue living the same way without a hitch.

All in all, applying and utilizing my mentors advice drove me to become a better nurse and financially cognizant. Hopefully, this knowledge proves to be useful while pursuing your future endeavors. Again, congratulations on all of your accomplishments. You have completed a feat that must be lauded.

 

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Ashley Wagner

Ashley Wagner

Ashley is a recent graduate of Simmons College. Currently, she is practicing as a Family Nurse Practitioner in an outpatient setting.
Ashley Wagner

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