Transition from Student to RN??


Hi! Next week, I graduate from my BSN program, and I've secured a new grad RN position. Although I'm excited, I'm nervous at the same time because I've heard that the transition from a nursing student to a registered nurse is scary and stressful. How was your transition, and what advice do you have?

Thanks in advance!

Specializes in ICU/ER, Maternal, Psych. Has 2 years experience.

I have NO advise as I have yet to finish nursing school, but i will say I am super jealous and wish you the best! Make that money and save those lives girl!!


5 Posts

First of all, congratulations on being almost done! That is a great accomplishment. Having recently graduated in May I can tell you that when you graduate there is plenty of support for you. After graduating you will have a preceptor there to guide you. Use this opportunity to ask questions and do things independently. After you are "on your own" you can always ask questions. In my (brief) time as a nurse I have found that teamwork is huge and there is always someone I can go to if I need help. Eventually, you will find yourself being much more comfortable. Remember: even the most experienced nurses ask questions so don't be afraid to ask. Speaking up is better than trying to hide big mistake. Best of luck! :)

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

Congrats on getting through the very infant stages of your nursing journey!!!

Yes, the curve into the transition from nursing student to novice nurse is steep; however there are a few things to consider to make a successful transition:

1. Continue to study: if you think glib are going to have to out the books away, think again. This is the time for self study, find nursing manuals for the specialty that you are getting into; as well as any disorder you encounter, study it, reflect on it, and incorporate it into your practice.

2. Advocate: meaning, be assertive in asking for help, finding information, and be assertive enough to understand that you do not have all the answers, but be willing to TRY to find the answers.

3. My personal 3 C's in becoming a excellent nurse: Consistency, Competence, Confidence.

Be consistent in best practice; you become competent and confident in your practice. That means understanding you will NEVER know everything, but be willing to learn everyday of your nursing career, and be ok with that. :)

Best Wishes.

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,022 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

The transition is indeed scary; it's scary for everyone. I vividly remember that first time someone came to me with a concern about a patient and I said, without thinking "I'll get the nurse." And then I realized that I WAS the nurse! It takes 1-2 years to become competent and feel comfortable in your job. Many new grads make the mistake of changing jobs a few months in thinking that the problem is their job when it's really THEM, not the job. The transition is difficult, and most new grads go through a period of being profoundly miserable before they begin to feel as though they have a handle on their job.

The number one reason that new grads fail to make it off orientation or are terminated or asked to resign in their first year is failure to get along with colleagues. You want to be friendly but not overly so. There are several threads on this subject, but the bottom line is that a new grad who is well-liked will be forgiven more (and more serious) errors than one who isn't liked. It isn't fair, but it IS. I wish I had figured this out (or had someone like me explain it to my younger self) when I was a new grad.

There is (almost) no such thing as a stupid question. But if you ask the same question over and over, your preceptor, charge nurse or manager may decide that YOU are stupid. No one should have to answer "Now what is the number for the blood bank again?" more than twice a shift. Carry a notebook with you and write down the answers to common questions like that so you don't have to ask them over and over. There's also a stupid way to ask a question. "I have an order for a Foley on Mr. Cook. I've looked through the procedure and I have all the supplies I think I need, but I've never done it before. Could we just talk through it before I go in the room?" That's a good way to ask a question as opposed to "How do I do a Foley?"

Expect to have to hit the books, especially during your orientation and probably most of your first year. You're going to come up against new things almost every day. In fact, if you aren't looking up something new every day (or several times a day) you're not doing it right. You'll study at home after your shift, as well. I've been a nurse for nigh on forty years now, and I still look stuff up every day. If you don't, you'll stop learning. No one should stop learning.

Good luck! I hope you find a great job with great colleagues.