Surviving nursing school and the first years in the real world

Now you’re a Registered Nurse (RN) or working toward graduation. Plans of serious celebration have been rightfully put in order for some time. You have said goodbye to a full night’s sleep, nail polish in exchange for scrubs, learned about evidenced-based practice, good bedside manner and the diligence to work up four-to-five patients since 5 a.m.

To the rest of the world this may sound crazy. Why did you put yourself through all of that? Because you want to do the one thing that has captured your spirit and tugged on your heartstrings ever since the moment you realized you wanted to become a nurse: you want to make a difference.

Nursing school has a way of pushing a sequence of buttons. In the real world of nursing the same is true, but it’s a different set of buttons. The difference is after school you emerge stronger, refined, polished and professional. You have the thinking required to take charge, augment your responses and practice nursing in the clinical way.

Ronie Bisping quote about nursing
Keep perspective throughout your entire nursing career.

Many aspects of your career may change, but there is one thing that does not change: you and the kind of nurse you want to be. If you are in school, listen to your inner voice, do what strikes you best and get inspired. Why did you want to become a nurse? Remind yourself of that every day before beginning a shift.

Tips for new nurses

Positive communication. This is the single most important skill to master no matter. As a patient advocate and university/hospital representative, your communication skills need to be on point 100 percent of the time. People may not remember the exact verbiage that you used, but they will certainly remember how you made them feel.

Be honest about your capabilities. “RN” covers a multitude of jobs that involve patients from all different walks of life, settings and acuities. While I will always be the No. 1 cheerleader for every person climbing that nursing ladder of success, know where your limits are and know when to speak up.

Own your leadership skills. You are on the front lines of leadership and patient advocacy. The difference between someone only wanting to clock in and clock out and someone showing up to make an outstanding difference is noticed.

As a nurse, your communication skills need to be on point 100% of the time Click To Tweet

Get in there. Nursing is a lifelong journey and the destination is not graduation. Whether you are two years or 42 years into your nursing practice, the process of learning never ceases. Find what works for you, the patient and your team, and seek to understand what resources are available to you and your practice.

Organization is key. Nursing is a planning profession. Get your name on the books now. None of this is meant to panic you; only to stress the importance of organization into every element of your life.

The key to success finding out what is expected of you, knowing what tools are available, beefing up your knowledge base and organizing it in a fashion that compliments your practice and life. Watch and learn from those a few steps in front of you and do not be afraid to bring what you have to offer to the table.

Growing pains are inevitable. Bodies grow and so do minds, spirits and personal limits. If your desires are true, your intent pure and your will strong, all the things you thought you couldn’t do you, you will see in time, you have been doing all along.