Congratulations! After years of hard work in training and study, you have finally graduated with your degree in nursing! You are now able to put all of that hard-earned knowledge to work and and start making a difference in peoples’ lives. You will have the privilege of working with doctors, pharmacists, and other health care practitioners as part of a team effort to provide the best health care possible.
However, you find yourself scared to get started. In spite of all the promise that a full-time nursing job has, you want to make sure everything goes well. You want to get along with everybody you meet while making every patient interaction go smoothly, all the while managing the stress that comes with the job. With all of the learning and adjustment that comes with being a nurse, the transition process can be exhausting for many.
You don’t want to experience burnout and fatigue at the very beginning, but you are also unsure what to do. No worries! Below you will find three valuable pieces of battle-tested wisdom taken from nurses who have been through hell and beyond. Read it, think about it deeply, and live out these principles each and every day!
Wisdom #1: Recognize That Adjustment Will Be Slow, Yet Inevitable
Feeling like you are suffering from information overload at the very beginning is perfectly normal. You will be introduced to many new concepts, routines, and procedures that you will be responsible for knowing as a full-time nurse. You might not get everything on the first try, and that is perfectly OK.
It is tempting to rush through things in an effort to look good in front of others, but this usually comes at the expense of compromising patient safety. Take a deep breath, step back, and recognize that you will eventually make meaningful progress forward in becoming a better nurse. Focus on getting a little bit better each day, and with time you will find yourself well-adjusted to the everyday stresses of being a nurse.
Wisdom #2: Self-Care Is Vital
What does this mean? It means that nurses need to take the effort to prioritize their own health and energy. It is true that there will be the overnight emergency shifts where you are staying up through the very early hours of the morning. You will face many stressful situations and deal with patients and people who are unable to think rationally during times of duress.
However, you cannot allow these work demands to negatively affect your well-being. It is very important that you take quick breaks during your shift where you get to re-focus, calm down your mind, and perhaps get a small bite of a nutritious snack to keep yourself energized for the duration of the shift. Outside of your shifts, you should strive to maintain an active lifestyle. This would include getting regular cardiovascular exercise on a daily basis, eating a healthy diet, and getting a full 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day.
Wisdom #3: Always Stay Hungry
One of the best thing about working in the health care industry, especially as a nurse, is that the learning never ends. With novel discoveries being made and innovative technologies bringing forth improvements in patient care, there is always something new that is going on. Instead of allowing this to overwhelm you, make the mindset shift towards embracing the abundance of opportunities that exist for you as a nurse.
If there’s a promising new study showing the benefits of a new medical procedure, take a couple of minutes to read up on it. If there are learning opportunities and seminars given at your hospital, book some time to attend them. By being in a perpetual state of constant learning, you are improving your competency and knowledge as a full-time nurse.
Plus, you are keeping yourself mentally sharp while avoiding complacency. This is what will allow you to consistently make small improvements and become a top performing nurse in your hospital!
As you can see, the advice passed down to you by veteran nurses doesn’t seem very complicated on the face of it. While there are some inevitable difficulties that come with transitioning into being a full-time nurse, that doesn’t mean that the process should be made any harder than it already is. By focusing on the fundamentals of small daily wins, self-care, and never-ending learning, you will be turning heads in the hospital for your outstanding performance while feeling well-adjusted and at ease with your full-time responsibilities!