Surviving Your First Nursing Job

Surviving Your First Nursing Job

Congratulations! You have successfully finished nursing school, passed the NCLEX and are now preparing to start your first job!

Now that you are out of school you may be wondering if your first job will be anything like what your professors taught you in school. I’m here to tell you no, but don’t fret.

Here are a few tips that can help you ease into the transition from student to nurse.

1. Remember the NCLEX and school are NOT like real world!

Many new graduates struggle with this fact when they are out practicing as a nurse. When you are out you will soon face this reality. Different facilities have different protocols, report may be carried out differently than it was in school, and when a patient is crashing it isn’t always “textbook” like NCLEX questions.

2. Listen to your senior nurses.

We’ve all heard the phrase “nurses eating their young” when referring to the relationship between new nurses and seasoned nurses. Sometimes there actually are personality conflicts, but most of the time seasoned nurses are just frustrated with the newer generation thinking they know everything straight out of school. Seasoned nurses on the unit your working have a wealth of information to share with you, just be willing to listen.

3. Don’t act like a know-it-all.

The quickest way to become the unpopular nurse on the unit is to act like you know everything about everything. I, nor any other nurse on the unit, care if you graduated from nursing school with a 3.9 GPA and passed your clinical rotations with flying colors. All we care about is how you can safely and effectively deliver care to your patients. This does not involve you telling us that we are doing things wrong (unless we really are), or that you jump ahead of your preceptor and do things your way. Remember you are there to learn to be a real nurse, not a student nurse!

4. Don’t cause waves.

When I say don’t cause waves, I mean don’t do things like actively complain about your chosen profession. I’ve seen and heard it many times; a new graduate comes into the unit and actively and continuously vocalizes how much bedside nursing sucks and that they are out of there, on to NP or CRNA school after one year! Doing this usually causes a divide between you and other nurses on the unit. If you think bedside nursing sucks now, wait until you don’t have help from your colleagues when stuff hits the fan. Because, according to you, who would want to be a bedside nurse for more than one year?

Use these tips to successfully integrate into your new role. Pretty soon you’ll be a seasoned nurse and will be able to give tips to the newbies on your unit.

Seasoned nurses, what have you found to be a good way to transition from student to practicing nurse?