20 Tips for New Nurses

Starting that very first nursing job brings a whole new set of challenges. Here are 20 brief tips I think every nurse “noob” should read as they start their nursing journey:

1. Get used to being scared; it’s your best ally.

2. Ask more questions than you answer.

3. Don’t ever fake it. If you don’t know something, tell someone. It’s OK.

4. You have to earn respect; don’t just expect it.

5. Avoid all gossip. If you want to gossip, go back to high school.

6. If you’re not early, you’re late. Timeliness is next to godliness.

7. Write everything down. You will forget 80 percent of what you hear. (“What you do not keep in your head, you will keep in your feet.”)

8. When you want to run: Stop, walk and listen. If you hurry, you will make a mistake.

9. Put your own mask on first. Take care of yourself before you take care of others.

10. Learn how to say NO to overtime. Learning your job does not require living at your job.

11. DO NOT rush orientation. Make your mistakes with your preceptor.

12. It’s OK–in fact, it’s expected–that you make mistakes. Don’t dwell on them; learn from them and don’t repeat them.

13. Find a mentor. Your mentor may NOT be your preceptor.

14. Surround yourself with people who love your profession. Don’t let the naysayers ruin it for you.

15. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Don’t be too quick to play the job hopscotch game.

16. Grow a thick set of skin, and do not back down when advocating for your patient.

17. Become a premiere team player. You cannot and will not survive this job otherwise. Play nice in the sandbox.

18. Thank all those who help you, including the transporter, the aide, the secretary and the housekeeper. Remember your TEAM.

19. Never apologize for doing your job…and that includes calling a physician in the middle of the night.

20. Never stop learning something new, ever. Seek it out. Pursue knowledge and career advancement. Contribute to the growth of our profession.

Written By: Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he’s worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).

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