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The First Month in Your Real-Life Nursing Job

Posted by MANSResolutionsChair on February 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM

For those who have been following along since August, I have seemed to be keeping to a theme with my blog posts. The first post dealt with being a new nursing student, the second touched on being in your final semester as a nursing student, and now there is this blog post. So what, you might ask, is this blog post about? Answer: The first month in your real-life nursing job!


SO…. You passed the NCLEX! Right about now I’m betting you feel like a million dollars! You should! This was a huge accomplishment in your life! Congratulations! But now, real life is about to hit you! No longer are you practicing under the security net of your clinical instructors’ licenses. You’re on your own now! Time to freak out! Right?.... WRONG!


No hospital in their right mind will throw you to the wolves without guidance! You will have a preceptor who is there to help you become a competent nurse. One of the things that freaked me out for the first two weeks after starting my new job was the classroom orientation! It was so much information in such a short amount of time I felt like I was sitting there, frozen in fear, wondering if I was smart enough to retain all the necessary information. Let me tell you right now that no one... and I mean NO ONE, remembers all the information that gets thrown at them during orientation. It is just a way to get your feet wet with how the hospital is run. I have found myself remembering parts of orientation during the times my preceptor takes me around the hospital floor and explains how procedures and tasks are done on a firsthand basis.


One of the biggest fears I have had with my new job is one that I think a lot of nursing students have but never really vocalize. Documentation! It’s funny if you think about it, nursing school has prepared you for the necessary procedures such as the dreaded Foley catheter… but every hospital seems to have a different computer system that they use. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 1 or 2 days a week for 8-12 weeks learning how to document on that computer system, but that’s it! Let me put you at ease. I was terrified on my first day with the documentation. After finishing my first week of working on the floor, I do not know nearly enough about the documentation system to call myself competent, but I am getting the hang of it. It is all about repetition. Take a breath and give yourself time and you will get the hang of the system your hospital uses.


Finally, I am going to say those three magic words that everyone is tired of hearing; Evidence… based… practice (Queue dramatic music)! You are going to go onto the floor and see a totally different way to do procedures. You will be thinking, “I did not learn to do it that way!” To be honest, I don’t have an answer to that freak-out. All I can do is make a suggestion. Make it to the point when you become an asset to the floor you are working on, don’t step on anyone’s toes, and soon enough you will be working without preceptors and orientation teachers being around you. At that point, try to start incorporating the evidence-based procedures that you learned in nursing school. You can be an example to all those around you on how things should be done! But remember, you win more bees with honey! Always be willing to help others out and be kind to your coworkers! You will earn respect that way.


Well that’s about it! Remember! You made it through nursing school, you passed your NCLEX, you are a person who is completely capable of being a good nurse! Give yourself time and do not expect to be a competent nurse in the first month of nursing. You will learn as time goes on and get to the goals you set for yourself eventually. Good luck out there!


Joshua Steward, RN

Resolutions Chair


P.S. I am now working in an emergency department. Unless you start working in the same ED, I would very much not like to see you there! By that I mean… Stay healthy y’all!

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