Jump to content

Starting first nursing job w/o tech experience...advice please

sns0248 sns0248 (New) New

Hello there everyone. I just signed up with this website and I hope I really enjoy my fellow nursing community : )

I am writing because I am quite excited yet very nervous about starting my first nursing job because I do not have experience as a nurse tech like the majority of my classmates did and therefore I already know I will have more difficulty starting out. Can anyone please give me any advice before I start my job as a brand new nurse??? I could really use some input.

Just to give a short introduction, again my name is Stephanie and I graduated from Chamberlain College of Nursing with my BSN. I will be working on an orthopedics floor and I heard that the floor manager is a pretty tough cookie. I want to do well and show that I am a hard worker but I am afraid of messing up or not getting the hang of things such as time management....(as this is something I didn't get exposed to not having a nurse tech background)

Again any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you so much everyone.

Edited by tnbutterfly
Name removed


Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Welcome to AN! One small tip- keep your first name out of your posts. You want to protect your identity. It might be too late to edit, but you can ask an admin to edit it for you.

Congratulations on getting your first job! Will you be working with a preceptor for awhile before you're on your own?

It's normal to be nervous, even for those with other healthcare experience. Safety is more important than speed, and speed comes with repetition. Be patient with yourself, and remind others of this if necessary.

How many patients did you take at a time while in clinicals toward the end? How did you balance that? What worked for you and what didn't?

We're all different, as far as what works for us, but a few things that helped ME:

Plan out the day. Write out all meds, treatments, "to-do"s, etc that must happen at specific times and at some point throughout the shift. This includes assessments, vitals, documentation, everything.

Use a multicolored pen to color code everything. I put red boxes next to everything that needed to happen. I had a separate column for documentation of what I did, because we used paper charts. I took report in blue, wrote my own notes throughout my shift in black, and wrote or underlined everything that needed to be mentioned in report in green. It was easy for me to distinguish what was what this way.

Cluster care. If you know you need to do an assessment on Mrs. M, and she needs meds, try to do those together. If she also needs some pre-op teaching, you can do this then as well, potentially.

Learn how to prioritize. Who do you see first, and why? Look at acuity and time consumption, and balance the two. Sometimes the quick, less acute person comes before the time-consuming acute person, depending on what's going on. Also consider who you've met before and who you haven't.

Use your resources. Get to know where to look stuff up as necessary, and respect the experience of the other nurses. Ask for advice when necessary, or if they have little tips and tricks to help speed things along or to remember to do Task X. Showing respect for people will earn you more respect in return. Be there for them when they need a second pair of hands as well. If you're restocking your patients' rooms with gloves, grab some extra boxes for other rooms as well. Don't play the game of, "Not my patient." Be there for your co-workers to foster a team environment.

You'll find your way. Be patient with yourself, and remember to be safe above all else.

Thank you so much for taking time to comment on my post, it really helps. I really like your tips on color-coding different things, I will try this and I definitely will do my best to help others out when I have time. It was a bit different in clinicals because although I helped out, the nurse was doing the true nursing stuff (knowing how to prioritize and who comes first...etc).

iPink, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum. Has 8 years experience.

Congrats on landing your first job! I started on a tough progressive care unit. A big thing a lot of new nurses are shy on doing is asking for HELP. Don't hesitate to ask your seasoned nurses for help. Obviously, not every nurse will be approachable, but you will quickly find out who you can go to. If you are unsure about something, ask. If you want a second opinion, ask. Also, never be in a position where you are about to administer a medication and the patient or the patient's family ask you "what is that" and you can't tell them. There will be common meds on your unit, so know them but there will be some unfamiliar meds that may not be commonly seen on your floor, but you must know them too.

You will be with a preceptor. Soak up everything you learn from him/her. Carry a pocket size notebook to jot down things that are unfamiliar so you can reference them later. Be proactive! Read up on unit protocols. You must know where to find them. You will most likely start off with a few patients then eventually take on the whole team. If you have to do an intervention/procedure you're unfamiliar with, go over the steps with your preceptor first before entering the room. Then write down those steps in your notebook for reference in case you have to do them again later down the road. Exude confidence in front of the patients (even if you have to fake it).

I had none, ziltch, zero, nada healthcare experience prior to working as an RN. That won't determine if you will succeed or not. Your first nursing job will always be the toughest but you should learn the greatest from that experience.

Good luck! Keep us posted.