Surving the First Year of Nursinf


Hello, I just survived my first year in nursing. There were many times where i thought I wouldn't, many days I went home crying, many days I thought I was smart enough or competent enough, many days where my emotions got the best of me, and more days than ever I wanted to exit the building and never come back. Needless to say I have made it across to the other side and can proudly and confidently say that I was meant to be a nurse. Now to graduate from my one year New Graduate Program I had to pick a topic to present to other New Grads just starting the program. I picked the topic Surving the First Year of Nursing because it was meaningful to me and I want to inspire others who went through the same struggles I did. I am asking for any input on advice, tips, words of encouragement, and any othrr input that would be helpful for those just starting their nursing career. All input it welcome. Thank you so much.


412 Posts

1. I know preceptors are randomly assigned most of the time, but it possible let your manager/educator know your personality traits and learning style so they can atleast try and pair you with someone you will work well with.

2. Get to work early, I know your not paid for it but if you get to work a bit early to read up a bit on your patients, treatments and meds your day will probably run a lot smoother. For example if you know your patients Hb has been trending down you can look up the blood transfusion policy and be better prepared for it. Arriving 15 mins early might save you from leaving an hour late.

3. Go out and by yourself a "new nurse" binder. Put some lined paper and write down the little nursing tips you pick up during the day or the diagnosis you've done some reading on. And then also fill it with printouts of policies or references that you use frequently. I know you can access these online but when I would print out a policy I would read through it and highlight the important bits. That way next time I need to reference it I could quickly see the important information.

3. Take time to reflect at the end of each shift. What are 2 things I did well today? What are 2 things I could of done better? What is something I can achieve on my next shift? You could just do this in your head on the drive home or write it down.If you actually write this stuff done and then run into trouble during your orientation (ie. Not ready to come off orientation, preceptor has a problem with you), you've got written evidence that you are trying to get better and are taking an active role in your learning.

3. When people are bothering you when you are preparing/ giving a med, you need to politely tell them to buzz off. Unless it can't wait, explain that you need to concentrate on your task and will talk to them when your done. This will save you making a med error due to distraction. Patient safety always comes first.

4. Clustering care makes you better at time management. Before entering a room think of what tasks need to be done for your patient and if you can do any of them while your in their to say do your vitals. And ask if they need anything before you leave. That way they aren't ringing the call bell 10 mins later.

5. Learning to delegate. When you are a new nurse it feels weird delighting to people who have been there for years, but nursing is a team sport. I always ask "do you have a minute to help me?" Rather than "can you do this". Also remember to recognise and appreciate your colleagues, whether someone goes above and beyond for me, I of course thank them but I often send off a quick email to management recognising them.

6. Have some new nurse friends to vent to, your family will try to be supportive but if they haven't worked as a nurse they will never quite "get it".

7. Lastly, IT WILL GET BETTER. When you are a new grad, even if you have the best preceptor, educator, patient ratios, charge nurses. It's still a huge learning curve and there are going to be hard days. Give it time, if it's still horrible after a year then it's probably the workplace. I'm not saying you'll be an expert after a year but there should be some good days by then. When I was a year and a half in one day I was just like "okay I've got this, I know what I'm doing and I'm good at it"