Becoming a nurse is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. After years of nursing school, you’re finally ready to apply what you’ve learned in a real medical environment. While the first year can be incredibly challenging, there are ways to cope.

Get Comfortable Asking Questions
One of the best ways to survive the demanding environment as a new nurse is to ask lots of questions. Even if you feel uncomfortable, remember that you are never expected to know everything. After all, so much knowledge comes from the hands-on aspects of the job. Therefore, it’s worth asking as many questions as possible. This includes all the HR and administrative things you’ll need to know, such as payment time scales, shift hours, uniforms, holidays, and even specifics like checking out Nurses Mortgage Online to find out how to take out a nurses mortgage if you’re aiming to buy a house.

Be an Active Learner
Despite all your training in nursing school, there is much to learn in your new workplace. To get the most out of your first year, take the time to observe, learn, and make notes. Be an active learner about how other nurses work, and familiarise yourself with the equipment, facilities, and procedures. The sooner you acquaint yourself with your work environment, the sooner you can become adept and comfortable in your role.

Develop Time Management Skills
It goes without saying that a nursing job is an incredibly busy one. Therefore, you must develop good time management skills in your first year. As a new nurse, you’ll have a long list of responsibilities that involves working with other nurses, admin staff, doctors, technicians, etc. Take notes from your colleagues and find ways to divvy up your time so that you can prioritise patient care with other duties such as medication management, tests, and administrative work. By creating healthy habits from the start, you set yourself up well for the coming months and years.

Learn from Your Co-Workers
One of your best sources of knowledge as a new nurse is your co-workers. Whether it’s senior nurses or junior colleagues, it’s important to bond with your team and learn from their experience. Take the time to ask questions or observe them in practice and let them mentor you about the ins and outs of the role. Not only does fostering relationships with colleagues provide access to practical knowledge, but it also makes the work experience easier and more enjoyable.

Build Relationships
With the busy and long working hours demanded of nurses, it can be tough to be social. This can make working as a nurse feel very isolating, so to stop this feeling of being alone, it’s a good idea to build relationships with your other staff members. Little things such as learning their names and saying hello to them when you see them can help relationships to sprout, giving you people you can talk to and enjoy shifts with. Doing this will improve your job satisfaction and help you build a support network at work that you can rely on to help cheer you up after hard days or give you the motivation to crack on when you’re feeling tired.

Set Realistic Goals
It’s easy to become overwhelmed in your first year as a nurse, especially when there is so much to do and learn. Therefore, on top of managing your time, you’ll need to set realistic goals. This requires making your goals achievable rather than setting the bar too high from the start. If you want to avoid burnout, start small and work your way up so that you can feel a sense of steady accomplishment. Remember that it can take months or years to feel like a confident and competent expert.

Set Aside Relaxation Time
With all the time management, prioritising, and learning going on, it’s vital that you also set aside relaxation time. While it can be tempting to work 12-hour days with barely a break in between, you won’t be doing yourself any favours. As part of your routine, make sure you’re looking after your physical health by taking breaks and time to yourself. In doing so, you’ll also be helping your mental health by not overburdening it with the stresses of work.