The Nurse’s First Day of Work

The first day of work as a nurse introduces a new student nurse or newly licensed nurse to the complex world of professional nursing. Occupational nursing, working for a living in the field of nursing and medical care, is a different challenge than merely answering test questions and performing nursing tasks for a limited number of patients and cases in a minute capsule of time. Putting on a show for a teacher or clinical preceptor is not as tiring as doing nursing tasks all day for inconsiderate or indifferent patients.

For new nurses, all too soon, after their first day, the workday becomes a repetitive chain of days that some new nurses find daunting. Nursing school wasn’t this much work!
Practical experience is what makes the most difference, in career nursing, because people are behaviorally trained to do what they have done before. Therefore, a nurse is best qualified who has done the same thing, medically speaking, for patients, over and over again.

Volunteer nursing experience and even intern duty at clinics can count. A nurse seeking work will want to demonstrate the most diverse and complete work history they can. The most complete medical knowledge level, and the most important skills are the accomplishments that nursing facilities and hospitals look for. A nursing home or hospital ward has enough of one thing, they are looking to fill a gap in skills, time schedule, or bedside manner.
A nurse coming into their first shift or first week of work, must understand that they are now the question “answerers” than the question-askers. people depend on them not only to do the right thing, but to say the right thing, and write the right thing in the chart. Nurses should get the knack early of writing vitals details of patients on little memo books or remembering case details all the way to the end of the shifts when it comes time to chart the patient responses. Keeping track of several different projects a day, even per patient, is a norm that new nurses must acclimatize themselves to. No nursing day on the job will be the same.

The new nurse should take in the data and treatment information they are given. Follow a single patient until you learn their medication schedule and care approaches. Nurses should use this time to observe all the things they can’t know from a patient’s medical chart, such as patient personality, manner, typical responses to questions.

The new nurse should show a minimum of argumentativeness, resistance to the process, or possession of too much superior work knowledge. The new nurse should understand that all the nurses she or he is working with have all gone through the process of getting to know the workplace and getting to know the patients and the staff procedures.

A new nurse should be watchful or ways they can improve on present nurse performers. The facility has hired new staff for a reason. Either they have worked the present staff to death, or you many nursing personnel have left. Local hiring pools give rise to dips and valleys in talent, and nurses may be working other jobs and not be available for all the shifts they are scheduled to work. The new nurse should make it look as attractive as possible for the facility to schedule them as much as possible.

The myth of a “nursing shortage” has come about for a reason. The fact is, nursing work weeks are set up to give nurses a break between long and arduous shifts. The anxiety and stamina that takes its toll on a nurse during the work week needs to fade away. A nurse needs time, sleep, and relaxation to unwind. The biggest advantage that a new nurse can bring to the table is their youth. The fact is, new nurses with strength and stamina to withstand long shifts of repetitive tasks and minute details are in demand. These nurses don’t come around every day. The best nurses get snapped up.

But the mistake most new and experienced nurses make is to try and fill all of their time with the most number of shifts. And nursing directors know that a nursing job candidate may not be as frank about their availability as they would want. The result is a kaleidoscope of co-workers instead of a reliable schedule of teammates.

A nurse should not assume another nurse will always be there to do a certain tasks or them or deal with a certain patient so they won’t have to. So, nurses cannot rely on a close set of friends on any nursing staff to function as a crutch. Social niceties like chatting, telling stories, or having lunch together should come second to attending call light systems and patient monitoring. A new nurse should be able to perform their duties no matter who is supervisor or charge nurse per shift. Long-term care can often be lonely and hard.

The hiring manager for a long term care facility or nursing home is trying to improve services to the public at all times. It is for them to review your skill set and decide how many nursing hours you can handle. Overworked nurses get sick, lose retention, and have mood swings. Often, nurses have second jobs whose work shifts do not complement well with the ‘primary” work assignment. For the respect of your nursing co-workers, try reporting your availability as honestly as possible. And don’t make a habit of coming late and missing the endorsement handoff.
The new nurse should treat the first day at work as the first day of the rest of their career. This is the last day their time is all their own. The patients now come first. The first time a new nurse punches in the time clock, all their focus and attention should be on patient directives and medical care objectives. From this beginning time onward, the nurse’s hands and mind are there to function for the good of the patient. This is the vocation of a career occupational nurse. Anything less of a commitment lacks the merit of a fully dedicated professional nurse.

Looking For a Nursing Job

Looking for a nursing job involves really evaluating your own personal job strengths. Applying at the same places as your friends or peers doesn’t always work. Working from newspaper ads only ads you into the mix with a huge bank of competitors. Occupational employment in nursing is an ongoing challenge for even the most senior and highly paid RN and LVN workers. Building  a lifetime network of people to consult and exchange information with about job opportunities and local trends starts now. A decade from now these will be peers working in places with new openings or new departments.

One strategy is to apply for weekend or part-time work at a long term acute care facility or long term care facility, to put some nursing hours and experience on your resume, without burning out from a heavy schedule and the stress of a full time work week. Limited interaction with key players can allow a new nurse to learn the job responsibilities without getting caught up in the vortex of a facility or nursing institution out of step with the nursing world at large. By limiting the scheduling availability, a nurse can allow for ongoing interviews during their off-hours in the full-time nursing employment space.

The first job of a nurse should be to absorb as many skills and workplace nursing abilities as possible. Making the transition from nursing student to nursing employee is not always as easy as the textbooks would suggest. The nurse candidate may interview with a Director of Nursing, or Human Resources Director, who has little or no idea what terms and in actual nursing job for an average shift is really like. The job description may not tell the whole story in a nursing position. Only the training preceptor can get a feel for what the new nurse is actually capable of doing.

Working part-time to start allows a nurse more time to evaluate if a new working environment is right for them. It takes time for a new nurse or new nursing school graduate to understand which parts of the working environment are fixed and which can be changed with experience and skill improvement. And the gradual build-up of skills and orientation will length the learning curve and leave a new nurse less likely to be overwhelmed. Thus a nurse can investigate what a facility or nursing department is like before committing to full-time availability.

A part- time schedule can allow you to burn in to a new place and absorb their rules and standard operating procedure, without trying to perform a full week of work at the same time. This kind of stress can affect how you learn all a facility’s rules and how you interact with all the staff. instead of burning bridges by becoming a moving target, start slow and begin to learn the ways of a new place slowly. interaction wit staff can remain minimal, so as not to get involved with any personality conflicts.

Part-time work generally begins with assignment of a preceptor. Today, nursing people call this “shadowing” a worker to learn their job. Nurses need to learn their preceptor’s ideas and functions before allowing a full time work schedule to break down the lessons and training. And sometimes a preceptor may not “fill in the blanks” as well as they should. But a part-time nurse can observe others at a nursing department and long term care facility and select whom they want to imitate in practice.

If a new part-time nurse blends in with the group and adheres to the institution’s policies and procedures, the director of nurses or nursing supervisors will schedule the candidate in for more hours and shifts. This is a good time to set limits for the availability. A nursing employer will not always respect the availability limits a nurse gives, and this is the best time to set the rules in stone. The ongoing battle for a nursing supervisor to staff the facility fully must co-exist with respect for a working staff of nurses and their need to rest and conduct their life in the off-hours.

The nursing job search includes a lot of phone calls, a lot of emails, and a lot of application forms. Job fairs and newspaper sections for jobs available aren’t always going to be the pathway to the best jobs. Many nursing homes and long term care facilities don’t have time to post individual job ads, and don’t have the staffing to vet the responses. If there is an area you want to work in, or a specific place you want to work, walk in and directly submit your application. By bringing your resume, three letters for character reference and your nursing school transcript , you will complete the application without the staffer having to do any work. The nursing supervisor or the director of nurses may decide to do an interview right then and there, and keep your application on file.

Newly minted nurses can’t always rely on the people at the other end of the line understanding nursing terms, medical courses, and departmental specialties. Many recruiting firms now do a lot of the screening for key posts. It’s best to get your dates and information about past work places straight, in the format of a general work application, because you’ll be filling them out almost constantly. Make sure your version of these events remains consistent, and be sure to have at least three character references from business and personal life at all times. If you feel that your contacts are being mined for marketing purposes, mark them “available upon request”.

If you feel your work experience is thin, write a cover letter describing your strengths on the job.  Talk about your individual abilities that make you unique to the nursing desk, hospital department, or long term care facility floor. Keep a list of the agencies, companies, nursing homes, and facilities you have applied to. You may want to look for older positions advertised or wait for another cycle or hiring to begin. Some larger companies wait and restart a cycle of interviews and training at the beginning of the first quarter and second , certainly not at year-end. if you are flexible to moving to begin a work assignment, say so on your voice mail message or the last sentence of your cover letter.