A “first day on the job” nurse checklist


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Travel nurses have a lot of first days, so who better to consult for tips for your first day?

We talked to Dana Elmer, RN. She’s not only racked up plenty of frequent flier miles in her years as a travel nurse, she’s also put together a full-proof list of DOs and DON’Ts for your first day.

Here’s her checklist. Would you add any advice?

  1. Get an extra head start on your shift, always accounting for traffic. If you arrive early, you can walk around and get a feel for the unit.
  2. If necessary, check in with the human resources department before you go to the unit.
  3. Sign in.
  4. Introduce yourself to the management.
  5. Introduce yourself to the experienced nurse you’ll be shadowing that day. This nurse will give you an orientation.
  6. Introduce yourself to the rest of the staff.
  7. Find out the nurse’s mandatory paperwork requirements.
  8. Obtain information on the facility’s procedures and policies.
  9. Find out how lunch breaks are handled.
  10. Bring paper for note-taking or find out if the facility takes reports on printed-out patient summaries. If yes, obtain the printout report sheets.
  11. Work your day like you would at any other facility by assessing the patients, pulling medicines and sending them to tests and procedures.
  12. At the end of the day, give your report to the oncoming nurse.
  13. Breathe a deep sigh, reflect on the people you helped and go home to rest up for tomorrow.

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