In December/ January I wrote a post about my interview for the graduate job that I have recently started. My final year at university whizzed by and quick as a flash I am here, settling in to my new job as a mental health nurse. The sense of pride is indescribable as you step foot on to a ward in your blue uniform after 3 years of studying for exactly that. I may have completed my university degree but the journey isn’t over. As a nurse I will learn new things every single day and work alongside other professionals with years of experience who can help me to progress and develop both professionally and personally. Thankfully, the ward I am working on is full of inspirational people who will be able to guide me in the right direction.
At this time of year a lot of other newly qualified nurses will have started their new job too- or the nerves will be slowly creeping up on them as they prepare for the start date that has been etched into their calendars for months. If I told you not to worry I’d be a hypocrite- but I can tell you from experience that your anxiety will ease if you are prepared for the big day. Make sure you know what time your shift starts (or even better get your off-duty for the first few weeks if possible) and make sure you know where you are going. I found it useful to meet up with the ward manager the week before my official start date to familiarise myself with the ward and the hospital surroundings.
Another method of preparation I would suggest is recapping the important things you may need to know. Familiarise yourself with specific ward policies etc. but also recap anything you may find useful regarding the speciality of the ward or anything you don’t feel confident with. Although this is a good idea… don’t go overboard! You don’t need to know everything and you never will- despite how much you wish you could. On a ward team work is a must and there will always be other people around to help you out. Don’t be scared to ask questions- I can guarantee other nurses won’t mind showing you the ropes. They were new once too!
During your first week watch the other nurses closely. You will pick up a lot by watching other people and taking note of the processes that take place in different circumstances. It is likely that you’ll be given an experienced member of staff to shadow. Make the most of this. This is the perfect opportunity to express how you are feeling, ask questions and learn from your new colleagues. When you get into the swing of things you will realise you know a lot more than you think you do.
Think positive and visualise how well your first day is going to go. Your potential will shine and ward staff will be happy to have you as a new member of the team.
A lot of people have asked me how I’m feeling about my new job and I am so grateful for the advice other nurses have given me recently. Here are the top 3 reoccurring messages:
#1: Work within your competency. Don’t be scared to ask for help.
#2: Work as a team. Share the workload fairly.
#3: Keep learning.
And finally #4 is directly from me.
#4: Enjoy it! You’ve worked hard to get to this point- be proud and be positive. Enjoy it because we are now at the beginning of our hugely rewarding career. Oh- and never say the ‘Q’ word.
Love, Kayleigh Rose x