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How To Survive Your First 30 Days in Your New Nursing Role

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

The first month in any role can be stressful – add to that the increased pressure of a caregiving role, and things can get quite tense.

The first 30 days are said to be the most important. It is during this time that you will find your feet, meet the people who can bolster you on your career path and more importantly – learn precisely what is expected of you!

Every healthcare organisation is different, so you might not be able to take with you valuable information from your previous role – sometimes it means learning new systems, ideas and working with a new management team.

If you are embarking upon a new nursing role, this article describes how to successfully navigate your first 30 days.

Forward Preparation

Your new role might be in a town you are familiar with, but if you have made a move to an entirely new area it can be slightly daunting trying to find your feet in the first few days.

If possible, a good idea is to explore the area a few days before you start to get a feel for the place.

If your new job is in a larger public hospital or healthcare centre, you can visit as a member of the public before your official start date, but this might not be possible if your new role is in a private organisation. If this is the case, you can still explore the geographical area, find out how you will be getting to work (how long will it take to drive there, parking availability or public transport routes) and familiarise yourself with the area.

Always give yourself more than enough time for your journey in the first week to ensure you’re not late – there is nothing more unsettling than being late in the early days of your role – it leaves you on the back foot and might give you a reputation for being unreliable.

Ask Away

I can’t overstate how important it is to ask questions about anything and everything you need to know in your first few weeks.

Take a notepad and pen and jot down everything – you might think you’ll remember all the door codes but believe me, you will be glad you wrote them all down!

Remember that it’s fine to ask the same question a few times if you need confirmation. Even in the smallest healthcare organisation, everyone has their way of doing or explaining procedures so the way one staff member has explained to you about the sterilisation procedure might be a lot simpler than someone else’s.

Even the most senior nurse in a new role will need to ask for help; it should not be seen as a sign of weakness - quite the opposite. It shows you are engaged and interested in learning everything you can about your new role.

Networking

Your first 30 days in your new nursing role is when you will meet the people who will help through tough situations and make your night shifts go a little quicker!

While you might be mainly working with one small team, it is essential to build relationships with everyone you come into contact with – you never know when you might need to ask for their help with a patient in future.

If you are in a more extensive medical organisation, ask everyone for their name when you first meet. You might not remember them all at first, but it will send out a positive impression.

It is also essential to build a good relationship with your manager during your first month. It is a good idea to try to check in with at least once each shift if possible, to give them a little update and to ask any of those tricky questions only they can answer that always crop up in the first few weeks.

It should generally be up to your manager to check in with you during this inaugural time, but as you well know - healthcare organisations can be hectic places, and quite often it is the HR element of your nursing role that gets side-lined in favour of primary care.

Do More Than What You’re Paid For

As a nurse, you probably already feel like there isn’t enough time in one shift to do everything you need to do, so this might seem like an added pressure.

I’m not suggesting that you start offering to help anyone and everyone – this will only leave you short on time for your own tasks. But what you can do is just be aware of any little actions you can do throughout your shift that you might have a spare minute for that will make everyone’s day run a little smoother.

Did you notice the clinical waste bin needed emptying and you were going that way anyway? Take it with you. Making a drink for yourself during a long shift? Ask the immediate staff around you if they would like one (we do advise against asking everyone on your department – nurses seldom say no to coffee!)

Finally

Take your time with every task you are given, and try to relax and enjoy your first month. You will be experiencing a new environment and meeting new people – this is a really exciting time in your nursing career.

 

ABOUT CLAYTON RECRUITMENT

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability. 

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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