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Carrington College Blog

Top tips for new nurses

July 31, 2013

New nurses should keep these tips in mind.As you embark on your nursing career, you are bound to meet a few challenges while adjusting to this new and exciting job. Any new position takes a bit of getting used to,  but nursing requires specialized skills because you hold another person’s life in your hands. After completing a practical nursing program or registered nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), keep these tips for new nurses in mind as you navigate your first year on the job:

Never fake it

While your nursing program no doubt equipped you with many of the skills you need to have a successful career, there’s always some degree of continuing education that occurs while you’re on the job, which means there is a learning curve. When you are unsure of how to do something, never fake it – that’s the worse thing you can do when people’s lives are at risk. Instead, ask a more experienced nurse to show you how. Pay close attention and you’ll know how to do it correctly the next time!1

Ask pointed questions

While it’s certainly important to ask plenty of questions of seasoned nurses, how you ask them can have an effect on the quality of the answer you receive. All nurses are busy, and asking a vague question means you will likely get a vague answer. Instead, be specific about the troubles that you are having – explain what is wrong with the patient and ask what they would do and if they can guide you and offer feedback.2

Stay humble

When you are fresh out of nursing school, you may think that the wealth of knowledge you recently acquired makes you more than qualified to do everything on your own. However, the nursing profession is unpredictable – you are, after all, dealing with seriously ill or injured patients – so it’s important to stay humble. It’s impossible to know everything, and accepting that you will need to work as part of a team will make the job much easier to handle.3

Be on time

In the field of nursing, being on time means being early. Never plan to show up mere minutes before your shift is set to begin – you never know if traffic or inclement weather may set you back. Hospitals rely heavily on their staff, and because nurses may work long shifts, it’s more important than ever that you arrive slightly early to relieve you fellow nurse.4

1 Dent, Sean, Scrubs Magazine, ’20 Tips For Nurse Noobs,’ May 2, 2013 –
Gatson-Grindel, Dr. Cece, Reality RN, ‘Advice For New Nurse Surprises,’ June 12, 2007 –
Stringer, Heather, Monster, ‘Nursing Reality Shock: The New-Nurse Survival Guide,’ 2013 –
Dent, Sean, Scrubs Magazine, ’20 Tips For Nurse Noobs,’ May 2, 2013 –

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