First Year Nurse Survival Guide

How to Survive Your First Year as a Nurse - BlogLet’s face it – nursing school can only prepare you for so much. Entering the field of nursing after school can be daunting and stressful. But, the transition can be much easier if new nurses learn practices and lifestyle habits that will make them effective and efficient nurses early on.

We’ve put together a list of things first year nurses should consider to ensure their success during their first year in the workforce and beyond.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Your coworkers and senior staff members don’t expect you to be a seasoned professional right out of the gate. Take advantage of the knowledge of those around you and ask questions.

Nurse Buff recommends asking senior nurses questions when you are unsure about something. “We don’t want to put our patient’s safety in danger.”1

Organization is key to success (and less stress).

It’s important that you learn to be organized early on in your nursing career. As a nurse, you will constantly be juggling tasks, patients, family members and coworkers. Organization will make sure you’re successful (and will keep you from pulling your hair out)!

Also, organization will help you to prioritize and delegate, which will make your days run much smoother.

Build relationships with those above you.

While it may seem intimidating, it’s important that you build relationships with those above you. Making connections with senior nurses and doctors can be extremely beneficial to your growth as a nurse and a professional.

According to Nachole from Minority Nurse, “seasoned nurses on the unit have a wealth of information to share with you.”2 Establishing these connections will allow you to gather mentors and also establish yourself as a dedicated, hard working nurse.

Some easy ways to begin building relationships with those above you can include eating lunch with a senior nurse or doctor or asking a senior nurse or doctor to grab a quick coffee with you so you can pick their brain.

Invest in your continuing education.

Education is probably the last thing on your mind as a first year nurse fresh out of school, but continuing education is extremely beneficial to nursing. A nurse never stops learning.

But don’t let this frighten you; continuing education doesn’t necessarily mean going back to school for another degree.

Nachole suggests, “read nursing journals, re-read your nursing textbooks, and become involved in professional nursing organizations—anything that will enhance your knowledge base.”2

As stated before, nursing school doesn’t prepare you for everything. “Remember this is phase 2 of your education,” reminds us.3

Nachole stresses that your first year of nursing truly is what you make of it. “The first year of nursing is tough, but manageable with the right mindset.”2

With the right attitude and preparation, your first year of nursing can be extremely rewarding, and not as daunting as you thought.

What do you think is important for first year nurses to remember? Tell us in the comments below!