Transitioning from the nursing student role to the new nurse role can be overwhelming and frustrating at times. I remember thinking to myself, “Am I ever going to get the hang of this….it is different than being a student….so much to learn…so much more responsibility!” Does this sound like you too? If so, I promise it is so normal and almost every new nurse feels like this.
In this article, I want to give you 5 tips on how you can easily transition from being the student to the nurse. These tips are based on my own experience and are tips that I wished someone would have given me before I became a new nurse. So, let’s get started!
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5 Tips on How to Easily Transition from Student to Nurse
Facilitate a good rapport with your co-workers!
When you are a nursing student you are at various clinical settings and are not really given the opportunity to form a bond with nurses on the floor. You are lucky to see them 1 to 2 times during your clinical rotations. However, when you become a nurse you will be working with the same people day in and day out. Therefore, it is so crucial you take steps to seek opportunities to build good rapport with your co-workers.
For instances, always try to lend a helping hand if you see another nurse who needs help and try to always be positive and a team player. This really forms a good impression in the minds of your co-workers, which in turn will increase the chances of them helping you when you need help. As a new nurse you will need all the help and advice you can get…..I know I did!
Learn how to communicate with doctors!
For some reason this was an issue with me during my new nurse days. I was afraid of being asked a question I didn’t know or I did not feel competent enough to talk about the care of my patient to a doctor. I’ve also seen this with other new nurse graduates I’ve precepted.
I think the reason for this is not because they are “scared” to talk to a doctor, but they feel unsure about what to say or ask due to the lack of experience, and they never really practiced doing it as a nursing student. However, the only way to learn how to communicate with a doctor is to do regularly and gain experience. Therefore, I recommend that as a new nurse in orientation you take every opportunity to call a doctor or speak to them on rounds so you become more comfortable with it.
Learn your hospital’s protocol and polices…and know where to find them!
Many times clinical instructors and preceptors do not take the time to sit down with their students and go over hospital protocols and policies. Many students are not even aware such things like this exist. Protocols and policies are so important for nurses because it drives the way we practice our nursing care. Every procedure/medication in the hospital has a protocol attached to it and they are great for helping a new nurse learn how to correctly perform them. I highly recommend you print off important protocol & policies (ones that you will use regularly) and keep them in a notebook for quick reference. It is so helpful, especially in a time when you are confused on something.
Know where to find resources!
I highly recommend that you put important phone numbers for commonly called departments or outside facilities into your smart phone (or print them off). It is amazing how much you will use the phone and have to call other departments as a nurse. I remember as a student I barely ever used the phone at the hospital, but when I became a nurse I used it a lot. So, it just saves time when you can quickly access these phone numbers.
Give it time!
Don’t except to have everything learned and figured out in a month or two. Most new nurses don’t start feeling comfortable until about 6 months to a year. It takes time and I promise you will learn it. You will be amazed when you look back at yourself and see how far you have come. So, give it time and don’t be too hard on yourself!
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