The first year of working as a nurse can be exhilarating, and sometimes even a bit daunting. The good news is that there are countless resources and mentors to lean on - and if you’re a Gale clinician, you have the added advantage of advice and support from your Gale team. To help you navigate your first year, we’re sharing several tips that can help you be successful.
Come Expecting to Learn
It’s good to be confident in your knowledge and abilities, but it’s also important to be humble and teachable, especially when you’re first starting your nursing career. Listen to those who have been around for a while, and take their advice to heart. There will always be wisdom you can gain from those who have seen a thing or two. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask — it will make you a better caregiver in the long run. Some good information to gather from more experienced nursing professionals include:
- Insights about the facility’s work environment – including where vital equipment and supplies are located, who’s in charge, the location of assignment sheets, equipment, laundry facilities, medication rooms, central supply, and specific facility procedures.
- How to handle specific patient behaviors.
- The best way to communicate with patients’ or residents’ families.
- How to complete patient charting and any other documentation.
You’ll show that you are attentive and willing to learn by asking questions. You’ll also start forming a relationship of trust with your fellow nurses, and that’s always a good thing.
Take Care of Yourself
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you know it’s recommended that you put on your oxygen mask before helping someone else. This principle has a direct application to your nursing career. Be sure to take care of yourself when you’re not on shift. Practicing self-care and tending to your physical, mental, and emotional health is crucial. Self-care examples include:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Exercising regularly.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Maintaining positive social connections.
- Participating in hobbies that you enjoy.
According to Nurse Journal, self-care can help nurses feel newly energized and replenish their feelings of empathy and compassion. When you take care of yourself, you can take better care of others.
In demanding healthcare situations, organization is critical. Coming into each shift, you’ll have a long list of responsibilities, so it’s important to manage your time wisely. Staying organized will help you give your patients the care they need and your coworkers adequate support.
In addition to patient-related documentation, it’s essential to keep your professional credentials in order. Staying up-to-date with these will make scheduling and employment easier for you and your facility manager. If these documents are not up-to-date, you cannot work. Thankfully, the Gale app lets you store and manage these details with ease. Keep your hard-earned credentials secure and accessible whenever you need them.
Continue to Develop Your Communication Skills
Communication is instrumental in all aspects of your new nursing career. Building these skills and becoming a good communicator will make you a better nurse. Communication — both written and verbal — with your colleagues and superiors is vital in being a team player, delivering the best care for your patients, and creating a positive work environment.
Nursing is a rewarding profession, but it’s not always easy — especially during the first year of your career. By coming in prepared and being willing to learn from others, taking care of yourself, staying organized, and building strong communication skills, you’ll set yourself up for a long and successful career in nursing.
Are you a first year nursing professional? We have immediate work options available.* If you’re looking for flexible scheduling and same-day pay, apply today to become a Gale Clinician. We’d love to have you join our team!
*Experience requirements may vary by location.