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5 Tips for Success from Experienced RNs

If you’re gearing up for your first day as a nurse, you’re probably feeling equal parts excited and nervous. Starting a new job is always nerve-wracking, but starting a job in healthcare can be particularly daunting. After all, patients are trusting you to take care of their health, which is no small responsibility. Nursing also requires serious academic and hands-on knowledge, so you have to bring all your education and skills to the table.

Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to calm your nerves before your first day. To put your mind at ease and help you feel more prepared, we’ve put together a list of 5 tips from seasoned nurses – things they wish they would’ve known when they were first starting. Check out their wise advice below.

1. Gear up.

Since you’ll be on your feet a lot, comfortable shoes are an absolute must, so look for a pair with good support. Also be sure to invest in a few sets of breathable, well-fitting scrubs.

2. Ask all the questions.

Trust us, your supervisors aren’t expecting you to know everything. A lot of what you encounter in your first few days (and weeks) is going to be new to you, so get comfortable asking questions. Nobody is going to doubt your skills or intelligence – they’ll just be happy you asked.

3. Create a cheat sheet. 

You’re not in school anymore, so it’s time to ditch the idea that you need to memorize everything. Use a small notebook to jot down things like normal lab values, drug calculations, and any other useful info, so you have a quick reference guide handy whenever you need it.

4. Get comfortable charting. 

Charting can get really time-consuming if you don’t learn how to do it efficiently. That’s why it’s a good idea to devote some extra time in your first few weeks to understand the charting system. It’ll save you major time and frustration in the long run.

5. Trust your skills. 

Remember, you already have what it takes to be successful. You’ve spent years studying. You’ve gained hands-on skills during your clinicals. You’ve passed your boards and gotten certified. Don’t waste time second-guessing yourself; you’re here because you’ve earned it.

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