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Starting your new nursing role?

19/09/2018
Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

The first 30 days are critical to any job. There’s a lot to take in, new names to remember and you’re still finding your feet and getting settled. On top of all of that, you’re keen to make a good impression, demonstrate your worth and integrate with colleagues. Not much to do then!

We’ve put together the essential tips to help nurses and healthcare professionals make it through their first thirty days in a new role. Follow our guide and you’ll not only survive the first month, you’ll be set up to thrive for a long time to come. 

What to do in your first thirty days

The start of a new job is your chance to demonstrate to your new employer what a valuable asset you are. According to the careers section of Health Education England, organisation, flexibility and the ability to prioritise are among the most important traits for those in a caring profession. So how can you balance these practical skills alongside softer skills such as caring and compassion, all while settling into a new role?

There are three stages to bring all of these elements together:

  1. Your first day: The most important thing you can do on your first day is to be on time. Lateness is unprofessional and gives the impression of a lack of care. Be friendly and open when introduced to colleagues, make conversation, ask questions, but don’t overshare. 
  2. Your first week: Show enthusiasm when delegated work and don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s something that you don’t understand. Continue to be punctual and be where you need to be at the right time when meeting with management. Show an interest in what your new employer tells you about the department and its vision. If relevant, mention your own experience as this may well feed into the team aims or overall goal.
  3. Your first month: A new role, a new workplace and new colleagues all take a little adjustment. Be sure to attend one-to-one meetings arranged by your manager, and if these are not forthcoming then you can request them. Be open to feedback and give feedback in a thoughtful, constructive way. Make your development goals known and work on a development plan with your manager.

Being proactive will put you in the driving seat of your new career and will help you feel more settled and secure. It’ll leave a good impression on your new employer too!

How to make a good impression in your new nursing job

Making a good impression at the start of your new job sets you up for success. The first month is about demonstrating your value. You want to reinforce in your employer’s mind that they were right to hire you.

The ability to work in a team shows that you’re interested in the collective success of colleagues and the organisation. Listening, enthusiasm and a willingness to get stuck in show that you’re a good fit while showing off your skills.

When meeting management, be open to what they are saying, especially if they are communicating their vision of what the organisation or department is working towards. Show an interest and talk about any relevant experience you have. You were offered a job for a reason, and if you have skills or knowledge that will help the organisation achieve what they want, share it. This will impress leaders and demonstrate your skills and commitment.

Making sense of the culture

Getting to grips with a new job is one thing, making sense of workplace culture is another. There are several simple things you can do to help you get familiar with your new workplace.

  • Make use of your mentor – If you’ve been partnered with a mentor, they can prove invaluable in helping you understand the organisation. If you have questions about how things work, potential politics, or anything that’s not related to the work but the everyday running of the place, your mentor will be able to give you the insider’s view.
  • Attend orientation, meetings and introductions – This will give you a good overview of how things work. Meeting key players and observing them in action gives you a good idea of the leadership and how this influences the rest of the team.
  • Pay attention to feedback – Whether feedback is delivered as an everyday drip-feed or in more formal one-to-ones, it gives you a good idea as to the culture. Keep your ears open to what’s being said and learn what is expected of you – being told what to adjust and how to make it better, helps you understand the company’s values in a tangible way.

How to integrate with co-workers

It’s likely that you spend more time with your colleagues than anyone else. So it makes sense to have good relationships with those you work with. In order to integrate with colleagues in the first thirty days of your new job, there are a few steps you can take.

On your first day, be friendly and open. Take time to introduce yourself to your mentor and other colleagues. You won’t be expected to know everything straight away, so ask questions. It makes you seem approachable and gives you a chance to introduce yourself to the people around you. Polite chit-chat with colleagues is fine, just beware of oversharing and don’t be tempted to talk negatively about your former employer: you’ll quickly destroy trust and be viewed as a gossip.

The coming weeks are the ideal time to solidify working relationships. If your manager hasn’t arranged it, ask to be introduced to the department head. Being aware of who’s who will help you understand your work and build positive relations. If you’re invited to training events or seminars make sure to go along. Avoiding these kinds of situations gives the impression that you’re not a team player and can damage relations with colleagues.

Hit the ground running

Starting a new role can be a challenging process. But by going through things in a logical and proactive way, you can make the best of your first month. Ensure you tie up your own goals with the goals of the organisation, demonstrate your value and your employer will be thrilled with their new staff member.

Our guide on 'How to excel in your first 30 days' will give you more hints and tips on settling into your new role - download your complimentary copy or contact us on 01772 259 121. We’ve decades of experience working with nursing and care professionals to place them in their ideal careers and we’d be happy to help with whatever challenges you’re facing.

And if you found this blog interesting please take a look at our article published in Care & Nursing Essentials which outlines four top tips for nurses to ensure that the first few weeks of a new job are a success. You can also register your CV with us online.

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