Congratulations! You got the job! But now that it’s yours, you’re probably feeling a little jittery. Don’t worry—some nerves are entirely normal. After all, you’re leaving the comfort of a position you know well for one that you don’t.
Be kind to yourself as you make this transition. No one expects you to know everything on your first day, and no one expects you to function seamlessly the first week—except maybe you. Remember that most of the pressure you feel is self-imposed. Giving yourself permission to learn the ropes will go a long way toward easing your transition.
If at all possible, ask to spend some time with your predecessor before taking over the reins. That will give you a good idea of what the job entails from day to day, and will give you an opportunity to tap your predecessor’s hard-won wisdom. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel, right?
Ideally, you’ll work with a mentor as you learn your new job. Take advantage of your mentor’s knowledge. Ask questions, watch and learn, and ask for an honest evaluation of your performance. Don’t let your mentor do it all, though. This is your new position, so gradually take on more and more responsibility.
If you don’t have a mentor, be sure to sit down with your supervisor at the start of your job to clarify your position. Have her review job responsibilities with you and ask what she sees as your top priorities. Ask to meet again on a regularly scheduled basis—maybe in a week, then two weeks, then a month—to review your job performance. Consider these meetings an opportunity to tweak your performance while learning more about the job.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may have more responsibility, but no one knows all the answers. Healthcare is a team effort.
For more Career Advice for Nurses pick up the latest issue of Scrubs magazine, available at a retail store near you!