15 Tips for Thriving in a Nursing Career

So, you’ve finished all your education, training, and find yourself accepting your first-ever nursing role. Brilliant! What happens now? Being new in the world of healthcare entails lots of learning, yes—even after all the education you have completed. There will now be more responsibility and expectation on your shoulders, but don’t let that deter you, as there are several ways to make sure you learn quickly and thrive. Here are 15 top tips for thriving in a nursing career if you want to impress.

1: Be Willing to Admit When You Need Help

It’s OK to admit when you need a little help, and it is a much better option than making a mistake. If you are new, it is to be expected of you, so don’t worry. Even if you are more experienced, there are times when a new situation arises and you don’t know how to handle it. Asking for help shows you are humble enough to admit when someone else can do the job better than you can. In addition to this, it’s a great way of learning! The more you ask, the more you will be taught, so your knowledge will only increase. Even when you’re at the latter end of your nursing career and nearing retirement, there will still be areas you don’t know. With a nursing job, the learning never ends!

2: Chat With Your Colleagues

Chatting with your colleagues is one of the quickest ways to learn. Your work-mates have their own experiences in nursing and will be able to provide you with inside knowledge. Plus, you will never find a more caring set of friends! Bonding with who you work with will lessen the stresses you will go through, and can make the experience much easier to deal with. This doesn’t just include nurses—it’s a wise idea to get to know everyone around your place of work! Getting to know the doctors, surgeons, and administrators, will help integrate you smoothly into the daily life of healthcare. If you ever need a helping hand, others will be more likely to provide it if you are already friends or even just friendly acquaintances!

3: Use Your Mentor

When you are starting out in nursing, it is wise to seek out a mentor. They will provide boundless amounts of advice and help when you are struggling. Think of it as extended education—just because you’ve acquired a nursing job, doesn’t mean your learning has finished. Your mentor will show you how everything works, and will train you in new areas, therefore making you a better asset to the workplace!

4: Be Organized

Having organization skills is key when you’re working in any medical field. As a nurse, you will have a wide variety of tasks to complete each day, and a lack of organization can lead to you falling behind. Make sure you are always on time, that you have everything you need to hand, and keep a diary to ensure that you are keeping up with everything. Getting into these habits early on will mean it becomes part of your natural routine over time.

5: Never Stop Training

With nursing, there is always room to grow! It helps to always think of yourself as a student; after all, your education is never over. Embarking on extra training even after you have succeeded in finding a nursing job means you are always improving and therefore thriving. It is also key to moving up the ladder; for example, one day you might just think about becoming a nurse practitioner! Click here for some tips on the transition from nurse to nurse practitioner. Always having new goals to reach will ensure satisfaction in your job and make sure you are being the best nurse you can be.

6: Look After Yourself

Pushing yourself is part of being a nurse, but it is also vital to look after yourself, too. Make sure you don’t take on more hours than you are capable of, take your breaks, and enjoy your time at home. Some days will be so stressful that you cannot switch off at the end of the day, but you must make the effort to do so. Consider treating yourself on your days off, for example, get a professional massage or take a trip to your local nature reserve—anything that will help you relax! It is not a secret that nursing is a stressful job, so self-care should be a priority.

7: Learn to be Confident

This will naturally come over time, but having confidence in the beginning is a quick ticket to earning the respect of your colleagues. This doesn’t mean acting as if you already know everything—quite the opposite. You should be confident in your abilities so you don’t always have to rely on others, but also confident enough to ask for help when you need it. Don’t be cocky, but trust that your education and work experience has helped you become a good nurse, and trust that one day, you will be excellent.

8: Learn About Nursing Etiquette

You may have been taught this during nursing school, but it can be easily forgotten. Have a look at what is expected of nurses in terms of nursing etiquette, which includes a firm handshake, certain body language, appropriate dress, and more. Going into a nursing career with these qualities already ticked will mean you earn respect quickly, and they will become a habit so that before long you will be doing them naturally!

9: Keep a Notebook (Or Two)

This one is particularly important. You may think that everything you are learning throughout the day will be stored forever in your brain, but you will be doing so much that a lot of it will fall out! Writing down everything will mean that you end up with your own personal nursing bible. You should even consider having two—one for what you learn, and another for your daily business, for example, the notes you need to run by a doctor.

10: Figure Out Your Sleeping Pattern

Nurses don’t always sleep at night and work throughout the day, and this could take some getting used to. Once you have your schedule, make sure that you have enough time to sleep. Sleep is essential for your health, and without a sufficient amount your work will suffer, so make sure you can always squeeze in those eight hours of uninterrupted rest!

11: Wear Comfortable Shoes

This is a big one and one you’ll regret if you don’t follow it! Make sure you have an appropriate, comfortable pair of shoes for work. You will be standing up for the majority of the day and rushing around seeing to lots of patients, so your feet will need to be taken care of! Invest in the best quality, comfortable pair of shoes you can find so that your feet don’t become too sore by the end of the day.

12: Be Efficient

When you have multiple tasks to complete and numerous patients to visit, it helps to be efficient. This means always making sure you have what you need to hand, as well as wording your conversations so that they are straight to the point. You won’t have much time to waste when you are on the clock, so learning to be efficient is vital. Be mentally and physically prepared for any outcome, and make sure you are ready for meetings and patient visits.

13: Listen Well

Listening well is key to both understanding patients’ concerns and learning more as you go. Great listening skills are essential if you want to thrive—your patients need to be heard thoroughly in order for you to make the best decisions possible. Listening to other members of staff and senior nurses will also help with your ever-lasting education. For example, if another nurse is explaining what is wrong with a patient, there will be information they are sharing that you cannot afford to miss. Take in everything people say to you without any interruption.

14: Learn to Prioritize Tasks

There will be moments where you have a long list of activities that are all screaming out at you to be completed. This can become overwhelming, and you will want to deal with them as quickly as possible. What you must learn, however, is to prioritize certain tasks. Sometimes, you just won’t be able to fit everything in, and it’s OK to admit that. Figure out the most important tasks and ensure that they are finished first before moving on to the others. Over time, this skill will come naturally.

15: Never Stop Asking Questions

As previously touched on, as a nurse, you will never stop learning, and nor should you want to! Don’t be afraid of asking questions—ask about the treatments, about the best ways to care, how to phrase certain medical terminology, and so on. It is one of the ways in which you will grow, and senior nurses will be happy to help—remember, they were where you are once!

Being a nurse is anything but easy, but if you follow these steps, you will find that you will become a great one. Remember, education never ends and you will always be growing, so you should embrace it!