As nurses, it’s easy to fall into a routine and stick to what we know. However, growth occurs when we step outside our comfort zone. When we challenge ourselves and take risks, we open ourselves up to new perspectives and experiences that can help us become better healthcare providers.
Stepping outside our comfort zone can be daunting, but the rewards are often well worth the effort. Not only does it broaden our horizons, but it also helps us build resilience and confidence. We learn to embrace change and adapt to new situations, which is an essential personal and professional skill.
So, the next time you feel stagnant or uninspired, consider taking a leap of faith and trying something new. Whether learning a new skill, attending a conference or workshop, or even just introducing yourself to a new colleague, the possibilities are endless when we step outside our comfort zone.
Remember, growth occurs when we challenge ourselves. By taking risks and embracing new opportunities, we can continue improving our practice and providing better patient care.
Many believe that university or TAFE-based nursing programs provide all the necessary knowledge and skills for a successful nursing career. This commonly held belief stems from the assumption that formal education is the key to success in any profession. However, this belief has led to underprepared nurses entering the workforce.
Shortcomings in Traditional Nursing Education:
Limited clinical practice in controlled environments
Lack of exposure to different nursing specialties
Insufficient focus on soft skills like communication and empathy
The Flawed Belief in the Traditional Nursing Education Model
Traditional nursing education often falls short because it doesn’t prepare students for the realities of the profession. Real-world experience and adaptability are crucial, yet many programs lack these elements.
Embracing a Holistic Approach: The New Perspective
To shift their mindset from “old” to “new,” nursing students should actively seek hands-on experiences. By engaging in undergraduate, volunteer, or part-time work in healthcare settings, students can gain practical experience and enhance their skills as well as gain confidence.
The Benefits of a Holistic Approach
Compound the experience you gain with additional benefits seeking your own learning goals. By adopting a more comprehensive approach, nursing students can expect improved clinical skills, better communication, and critical thinking abilities. This will better equip them for the challenges and complexities of the nursing profession, leading to a more fulfilling career.
The “Old” Way Is Fading
The “old” way of relying on traditional nursing education is on its way out, as the need for adaptable and well-rounded nurses becomes apparent. A more comprehensive approach, integrating theory, practice, and soft skills, is the future of nursing education, ensuring that students are prepared for the ever-changing healthcare landscape and contribute to improving patient care.
Here are five tips to help you navigate the challenges of being a new graduate nurse:
🙋🏼♂️ Ask Questions and Seek Help
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out for assistance when needed. Everyone was once a new graduate nurse, and it can be comforting to know that you are not alone in this journey. Your colleagues, supervisors, and mentors can provide valuable insight and support to help you succeed. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of your resources.
Extra Tip: Have a system for your continued learning and growth. Clinical and non-clinical.
⏰ Time Management
Being mindful of your time and prioritising your tasks is an essential part of being a successful new graduate nurse. Make sure to take regular breaks and pace yourself to avoid burnout. Prioritising your work, taking breaks, and developing good time management habits will help you stay on top of your workload.
Extra Tip: This is unique to you! Developing nursing skills is an ongoing and dynamic process. Check out the podcast I recorded with the Two Humerus Nurses, where time management was the theme of the recording. I share the same resource I used as a student with my students and graduates, and they find it helps them to reduce distractions and focus on categorising their patients’ care.Download Your Copy.
👥 Build Relationships with Your Colleagues
Building positive and supportive working relationships with your colleagues will make your work environment more enjoyable and help you learn from each other. It is important to build relationships with your peers and supervisors in order to get the most out of your job.
Extra Tip: Start this in your first year of nursing! If you are serious about nursing, then commit to it and network with others. You have a lot of chances to make connections and build a network for your future at university and on placements. In the third year and beyond, attend conferences at least annually in your field and interest area. You are here now in your graduate year, continue to build on the relationships you have and develop new ones along your path.
🍀 Maintain a Growth Mindset
Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and continuous learning. Stay open-minded and willing to try new things. Don’t be afraid to take risks and challenge yourself.
Extra Tip: You will always be learning something new. Be inquisitive and enjoy the fun of learning with others while performing your job. It’s ok if you do not like something, especially if you have given it a try and enjoyed the journey. It’s all about experience first, then identifying second, and finally choosing what aligns with you.
🥸 Focus on Patient-Centred Care
Always put the patient first.
Focus on giving your patients good care with compassion and building good relationships with them and their families. As a newly graduated nurse, it’s important to give your patients good care and get to know them well.
Extra Tip: Concentrate on this and work from there. This will help you with the environment as the stresses, people, and workload change to focus on what is truly a priority and of concern to your patient and yourself.
These tips can help you become a successful and well-rounded new graduate nurse.
With a bit of hard work and dedication, you can make the most of your new career.
Head out and have a great time!
Remember to savour the experience!
You’ve earned it!
Take a moment to dive into your progress, learning, and growth.
Preparing for your graduate application begins in year 1 of your nursing studies, not when you download the information package for the position you are applying for and ends when you are asked your first question, sitting across from your new manager (potentially).
There is more to Placement! 💥
Your clinical placements are not just for skill development or for you to complete your practical experience or time. Your placement experience is a fantastic opportunity for you to identify the clinical areas and health services you want to work for!
It doesn’t stop there…
Networking is Powerful 💬
Talking with others who are working in areas you can see yourself working in or have similar interests or career pathways that resonate with you can supercharge your progression forward. Starting with your placements, connect with staff, other students and professionals. The more you engage and immerse in clinical placements, the more you will learn about yourself, and gain insight and further perspective on the industry and what you are interested in. At the same time, you are marketing yourself – for the next position!
Research – Knowledge is 💪🏼
Be aware of when and how your health service or program provider recruits for their positions and what they are seeking from you.
If you are an undergraduate and you have additional questions, you may want to consider contacting the hospital educator to ask additional questions and show your interest in the position.
Once the positions are released, read the advertisement carefully for any keywords, download the application information and documentation and be sure to research the hospital and/or health service you are applying for.
Make the Right Decision 🤔
Talk with people in similar professions for general advice on the company and clinical area to see if it suits you, your needs, and your goals.
Read the application information carefully and thoroughly to ensure you understand the requirements.
Organise relevant persons to act as referees and provide references for you. Ideally, you will require written references and contacts as a student as well as student documentation, or at least one of these. Plus, a minimum of 2 verbal contacts as well to include with your application.
Conduct revisions and updates to existing documents (Cover Letter, CV, Selection Criteria) and plan the development of anything new that is specifically required.
Ensure you know and monitor the dates, contacts and progress of each application, what you have provided and where you would rather work based on programs, locations, entitlements, conditions, culture, clinical work etc.
Develop, Review & Execute 🚀
Write a cover letter!
Construct or update your curriculum vitae relevant to the position, you and your experience, education and skills in the area of work.
Address each selection criteria if requested.
Organise all of your documentation and particulars for uploading to portals as requested and emailing them to the relevant people promptly.
Be a step ahead! 😉
Get your hard copy or digital portfolio, CV and/or any evidence or supporting documentation ready for the application & interview as you go along the way.