The first day on a new nursing job is an exciting step into the nursing field, but nurses may also face some anxieties like anyone else entering a new workplace. Whether it's your first nursing job or fifth, starting a new job can be just as overwhelming as it is exciting.
As a nurse, you have the opportunity to play an important role in the care of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our population. Because of the crucial role you play in the care of patients, it is important to be prepared and confident for your first day. As a nurse myself, here are some tips and nursing essentials to help you prepare for your first day and breeze through nursing orientation.
New Nurse Checklist
1. Research your new workplace
Before your first day, scope out the website of the hospital or healthcare facility where you’ll be working. Familiarize yourself with their mission statement, policies and procedures so you get a sense for the culture and values of the organization. It may also be helpful to take a drive to the facility so you can orient yourself on the parking situation and time your commute so you can arrive to your first shift on time (or early, if possible)!
2. Freshen up your nursing skills
Take some time to brush up on your nursing knowledge, including medication administration, patient assessment, and patient care. A quick review should help you to feel more confident on your first day. If you are a new nurse, feel free to bring along any quick guides that you can tuck away in your pocket for easy reference. Remember, it is always okay to look-up information that you don’t know off the top of your head.
3. Dress for success...and comfort
Make sure you are aware of the dress code for your new workplace. Arriving prepared and professionally dressed shows care and a level of effort that others will take notice of. A comfortable pair of scrubs and, more importantly, a supportive pair of shoes will help keep you going while you are on your feet for your shift.
4. Rest up and fuel your body
Try and get a good night’s sleep before your shift. Getting adequate rest and eating a healthy meal before your first day will help prepare your body for a day of orienting to a new job. Don’t forget to bring plenty of healthy snacks that you can grab on the go when you need a quick boost of energy.
5. First impressions matter
Make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running and are feeling motivated and open-minded. Different facilities may have different ways of doing things, so it’s important to be ready and willing to learn new processes or protocols if-needed. Demonstrating a willingness to learn something new can go a long way when forming these new relationships.
6. Seek out the leaders
As you introduce yourself to your new coworkers, take the time to introduce yourself to your new boss or shift supervisor. Do not be afraid to ask questions and keep a positive attitude as you navigate your first day!
At the end of the day, keep in mind that you are not alone, and new nurses are starting new jobs each and every day. Seek to find a community where you feel supported. At ShiftMed, we are here to help. If you ever have questions or need help navigating your start at a new facility, please give us a call! We’re ready to answer your questions and ensure you’re success with ShiftMed. Ping us anytime, 24/7 at 1-800-485-9002.
Brittany Williamson is the Director of Nursing for ShiftMed with more than 15 years of experience in healthcare. Brittany’s healthcare career began as a community-based social worker where she quickly found her passion for helping individuals navigate the complicated healthcare system to meet their needs. She has worked as an RN at several large health systems in the Midwest and found a love for navigating care for the most medically complex patients during her time working in the post-acute care continuum. Brittany is committed to supporting nursing professionals through providing the resources and education needed to maintain the highest quality of care in this dynamic and ever-changing field of healthcare.