It’s no question that students learn a lot in nursing schools. From lectures to clinical rounds, students with dreams of entering the nursing field have a lot on their plates. But graduating from a great school or program doesn’t mean a new nurse’s attempt at jump starting their career will be foolproof.
While learning from one’s mistakes is a great lesson to experience, an even better outcome is learning from other’s mistakes so that they don’t end up being repeated.
Mistake #1: Being in Nurse Mode 24/7
It’s understandable that new nurses want to immerse themselves as much as possible into their careers but that can backfire in a huge way. The demands of the profession can easily become overwhelming and for nurses who don’t make strong efforts to separate their work life from their home life could find themselves burned out before they’ve even begun.
There will always be long shifts, hours of being on your feet, multitasking and interacting with patients (both good and bad) but there should always be a clear distinction from time spent at work and time spent at home. If you don’t have to work overtime, don’t sign up for extra shifts. Learn how to walk away from work and focus on your personal life. Don’t stop doing the things you love, engaging in hobbies, taking time off and enjoying the company of friends and family.
The most successful nurses are those who know when to leave their career at the door when they come home.
Mistake #2: Being Indecisive
The great thing about nursing is that there are so many different paths to choose from. Unfortunately, for individuals that are indecisive by nature, this could cause more harm than good. Choosing a specialty is very important in getting a nursing career off the ground. Picking one specialty and then turning around and jumping to another too many times isn’t good for a nurse’s reputation, nor is it a very stable way to hold down a job in the healthcare field.
There is nothing wrong with trying a new specialty once or twice in one’s career but it is very important that new nurses feel confident in the area they’ve chosen to specialize in initially, as well as give themselves enough time to really feel at home in that department before moving on to new pastures and opportunities.
Mistake #3: Being the Lone Ranger
It’s understandable that new nurses may experience feelings of intimidation or even competition among their peers in the workplace. However, refusing to be a team player is never good for anyone’s career. Nurses must be able to work as a team and acting like you’re too good for everyone else is a surefire way to create tension.
No one says coworkers have to be your best friends but making friends with other nurses in the unit is a great way to develop strong work relationships that could serve as a much needed source of support over the course of a person’s profession.