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21 Tips for the Newly Qualified Staff Nurse

Matt B

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Newly Qualified Nurse

The transition from Student Nurse to Registered Nurse will be hard and it is much tougher than your university lecturers or mentors will tell you.

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You will go home every night for the first year wondering if you have done everything right, not missed anything and worrying about your patients. This will pass and you will soon be confident in your patient care.

RELATED: Preparing for your Staff Nurse Interview

Here are 21 tips that I wish someone had given me as a Newly Qualified Staff Nurse, it’s too late for me but you should apply these when you start your first role.

  1. You’re going to be worried and scared. It will be your best ally and it will stop you from making mistakes.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We all have areas of development, your better to ask questions then get it wrong. 
  3. Learn to relax when you’re not at work. You’re going to worry about everyone and everything when you first qualify – this will soon pass.
  4. Evidence is important but sometimes your gut is right. You spend 12 hours a day with your patient and sometimes you really do know best. 
  5. Don’t gossip. Act as if you’re ‘on-stage’ and if you want to gossip, go back to school.
  6. If you’re not early, you’re late. Good time management is essential to good patient care. 
  7. Write everything down or use a shift planner. You’ll forget 80% of what you hear so planning your day is important. 
  8. When you’re behind, don’t rush. If you rush, you’ll make a mistake.
  9. Don’t dwell on mistakes – learn from them. Your going to make mistakes, in fact its expected, but when you do don’t dwell, learn from them and move on.
  10. Make the most of your supernumerary period and make sure you use it all. 
  11. Learn how to say no to extra work and overtime. Nursing required a good work life balance. 
  12. Find a mentor quickly and ask for feedback. Your mentor may not be your preceptor and you’ll need someone to talk to and reflect with. 
  13. Surround yourself with people who love Nursing. Enjoy your job, it’s what you’ve been working towards for year – don’t let the negativity ruin it for you. 
  14. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Don’t be too quick to change jobs if things arn’t going the way you wanted. 
  15. Grow a thick skin, and never back down when advocating for your patient. The NMC teaches us that our patients are our first priority. 
  16. Become a good team player you won’t survive this job otherwise.
  17. Thank everybody who helps you. This includes the transport driver, the HCA, the secretary, the domestic and many, many more. Remember they are your TEAM.
  18. Befriend your Nursing Assistants. They are a fountain of knowledge – use them wisely and don’t abuse their kindness. Take a look at 5 ways to appreciate your care assistants.
  19. Don’t apologise for doing your job – that includes calling a Doctor in the middle of the night.
  20. Never stop learning something new. You should pursue knowledge, learning and career advancement. You can contribute to the growth of our profession.
  21. Nursing is a 24 hour profession. Don’t rush you work simply to complete your tasks. Don’t be afraid to hand non-essential jobs over if you need to.

Is there a piece of advice you’d share with others? Post it in the comments!

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ruth Jordan

    19th July 2015 at 9:51 pm

    love this, thank you. As a student nurse on my sign off placement there are times when I feel I still know nothing, but then something happens – like talking a first year through a catheter insertion – then I realise I am a million miles away from where I first began…I am anxious about the next year but will always be honest about my limitations and continue to thrive in learning.

  2. Ruth Jordan

    19th July 2015 at 9:51 pm

    love this, thank you. As a student nurse on my sign off placement there are times when I feel I still know nothing, but then something happens – like talking a first year through a catheter insertion – then I realise I am a million miles away from where I first began…I am anxious about the next year but will always be honest about my limitations and continue to thrive in learning.

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Hospital in China Introduces “Hover-boards” for Nurses

Ian Snug

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The Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University’s College of Medicine say nurses are already walking 5,000 steps fewer.

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The hospitals say an internal study found that Doctors and Nurses were walking an average of 25,000 steps every day and has introduced the “hover-board” in a bit to reduce their workload.

Nurse Zhang Jitao explained the hospital used a simple step-tracking application on their phones to complete the study which revealed medical were taking an average of 25,000 steps a day – the majority of which were walking between patients and to the labs.

He went on to explain that by decreasing the number of steps that doctors and nurses take will allow them to allocate more energy towards treating patients.

According to the report, since the introduction of the hover-boards staff are walking 5,000 steps fewer.

Initially, introduce to their Intensive Care Unit staff at the hospital admit the sight of medical staff moving around the hospital on hoverboards is unusual, they insist it should catch on.

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Adam Kay’s Letter to the Secretary of State for Health

Matt B

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Adam Kay, a former Doctor, publishes an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health calling for him to walk a mile in the shoes of a junior doctor.

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In his new book, ‘This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor,’ the former obstetrics and gynaecology doctor writes candidly about his experiences as a junior doctor and the effect working in medicine has on both his personal and professional life.

In the open letter to The Secretary of State for Health, he said;

“Roger Fisher was a professor of law at Harvard University, who suggested back in 1981 that they should implant the American nuclear codes in the heart of a volunteer. If the President wanted to press the big red button and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people, then first he’d have to take a butcher’s knife and dig it out of the volunteer’s chest himself; so that he realizes what death actually means first-hand, and understands the implications of his actions. Because the President would never press the button if he had to do that.

“Similarly, you and your successor and their successors for ever more should have to work some shifts alongside junior doctors. Not the thing you already do, where a chief executive shows you round a brand-new ward that’s gleaming like a space station. No: palliate a cancer patient; watch a trauma victim have their leg amputated; deliver a dead baby. Because I defy any human being, even you, to know what the job really entails and question a single doctor’s motivation. If you knew, you would be applauding them, you’d be proud of them, you’d be humbled by them, and you’d be eternally grateful for everything they do.

“The way you treat junior doctors demonstrably doesn’t work. I strongly suggest you seek a second opinion.

If you’re interested in reading more, you can buy a copy of his book on Amazon or book tickets for his ongoing tour.

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