4 Tips to Help New Nurses Thrive

Stepping out of the classroom and into a busy bedside care setting as a novice nurse can be overwhelming. Of course, nursing school and hands-on clinicals help to arm new nurses with knowledge. However, proactively taking steps to ensure success as a new grad takes a ton of on-the-job effort.

The wonderful quality about new nurses is their mindset -- they're eager and excited to dive into a new career, even if it means there will be lots of unknowns at first. Therefore, the sooner this on-the-job learning begins, the more likely new nurses will not only survive, but actually thrive in a bustling new workplace.

On the personal front 

  • Understand the need to recognize your needs.
    Nurses are trained to care for others. But sometimes, this means they tend to ignore their own needs. As the saying goes, "You can't pour from an empty cup." In order to provide outstanding care to patients and residents, new nurses must discover a balance that allows them to be acutely aware on the job while extending the same courtesy to themselves. Sometimes, enthusiastic new nurses experience burnout by devoting themselves entirely to their work with little-to-no-consideration for their physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Prioritize your mental health.
    Diving into the very raw and real world of bedside nursing is exciting. There will be times when patients and families express unlimited gratitude. Similarly, there will be times of crisis and tough scenarios that can take a toll on nurses. Factor in the usual nerves that go with "new job" territory, plus long shifts and the desire to perform well, and a perfect storm arises for potential mental health symptoms. Two of the most common conditions, depression and chronic anxiety, can lead to mood swings, inability to focus, emotional instability, lack of sleep, and even burnout. But with some intentional effort, you can keep your mental health at bay. To get a head start in preventing burnout at absolutely no cost, new nurses can download these four free mental health apps.

    The key is to keep your finger on the pulse of your mental health from day one. And launch into your nursing career aware of the impact your chosen field tends to have, especially on those most dedicated to serving the needs of others.

On the job front 

  • Celebrate victories big and small.
    Caring for others can be tough. Succeeding in a task or challenge revitalizes the brain and charges the body. So, encourage that mental and physical boost by taking advantage of any victory with a celebration. Individual or team successes? Make it a habit to celebrate them all. Allow yourself to savor the victory with something meaningful to you -- a special snack, an indulgent lunch out, a nap after your shift, an afternoon of shopping, time with friends -- whatever in your mind constitutes a celebration.
  • Remind yourself that it's okay not to have all the answers.
    New nurses will face tricky situations that were not explicitly addressed in nursing school. That's why you should become comfortable asking questions, seeking clarification, and leaning on the more experienced nursing staff -- often referred to as veteran nurses. Speaking up will allow you to grow your skillset and provide the best care possible to your patients. Don't forget to ask your co-workers about their favorite nursing shoes and compression socks, or how they sharpened their soft skills and hard skills while working on the floor. 
Though  not a comprehensive list of novice nurse survival skills, these four tips will provide a solid foundation for our future clinical leaders.


Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.