- 06 May 2020
- 11 min read
5 tips on how to stay confident for every nurse in a new job
Starting a new job can sometimes make you feel like a novice. General Practice Nurse, Claire Carmichael, gives her 5 top tips on how to stay confident in your new nursing job role.
Topics covered in this article
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another blog.
My name is Claire Carmichael. I'm a general practice nurse in the middle of a COVID pandemic.
This blog is hopefully going to navigate away from that slightly, and I want to talk all about how to stay confident in your newly qualified nurse post.
If you are a third year student right now that has taken up the step, opted in, if you are that person and you're thinking about, "Okay, how can I stay confident in this job? How can I make the best of this situation?".
Or you might just be a newly qualified nurse, just qualified, and you want to know how to make the best of this new job that you're going into, how to stay confident, because it can be quite challenging at times.
So, this is absolutely for you if this is what you want to know.
Tip 1. (1.00) Be your own fan
My first tip is actually going to talk about your own mental health and encouraging that every single morning before you step on shift.
So, whether that's as soon as you get up, whether you're in the bathroom, getting washed and dressed, whatever you were doing, you just want to stand tall, do the superwoman pose, power pose, whatever sort of pose, arms in the air, however you want to stand.
Get that power pose ready and just say to yourself, "Do you know what? I'm great. I can do this. I'm confident I'm a nurse. Look how far I've come. I'm brilliant".
Tell yourself these positive things daily.
This is what I do.
I have to remind myself every day, "Do you know what? I am a good nurse. I can do this. Come on".
Just that little bit of mental exercise every single day is going to reinforce your own confidence every single day.
It's just amazing how that change of mindset can really make a big, big difference.
Because if you think about it, if you're waking up and like, "Oh, my God, I've got a day at work. I don't know if I can do this".
You're already setting your day up for a fail.
Why are you doing that?
The day hasn't even started.
Start it positive, start on a high, and whatever comes your way, tackle it bit by bit.
That's the best way you can start.
Honest to God.
And not only that, do whatever makes you feel confident.
If you feel confident when you've washed your hair, your hair's looking shiny, it's looking good, you feel good.
When I put my wings on every day and I'm just like, "Yeah, that looks so much better. I feel good myself already".
A little squirt of perfume, not too much because patients might be sick, but these little things might really, really help your own mental health and your own way of thinking and feeling confident.
Whatever you do every day to make you feel good about yourself, do that, do absolutely more of that.
You probably won't be able to do that in nursing. Sorry, guys.
Tip 2. (2.53) Remind yourself, it’s ok not to know everything
So, my second tip is if you don't know something, if a patient is asking you something, or a colleague is asking you something you don't know, it's perfectly okay to say, "Do you know what? I'm really sorry. I don't know, but I'm going to go find out for you".
You will be surprised at how understanding some patients are.
Like as soon as you say, "I'm really sorry. I don't know this, but you know what? Someone else does and I'm going to find out”.
They actually really appreciate your honesty and that's going to make them trust you as well, because you're being open and honest.
If that keeps happening as well, you're going to actually feel a bit better about things.
You're going to feel a little bit more confident, because you're thinking, "Okay, it's okay to say no".
It happened to me when I very first started working, a patient asked me something simple and I didn't know, and I beat myself up for days over it and it really knocked my confidence.
But actually over time I realized that it was okay.
I need to be kind to myself and all that jazz. And actually, now I'm okay with it.
So, I'm not going into work thinking, "Oh, my God, please don't ask me something.
Don't ask me anything, because I don't know".
You need to erase that.
It’s all about your mental confidence as well as your physical, and knowledgeable, and all of this.
You need to build that up as well. And that's what this is all about again.
So, it's about knowing that it's okay to be open and honest with patients.
It's okay not to know everything.
I keep saying this, "We can't physically know it all".
Tip 3. (4.23) Speak to others, you’re not alone
Tip number three is going to be speak to your colleagues, because I found this really, really useful when I was beating myself up at the start.
I wasn't feeling very confident in myself. I was really, really punishing myself.
And it really, really helped to speak to other nurses that I worked with that'd been there for years, been nursing for years, and to see that actually they don't know it all and that they feel unconfident sometimes.
And that just really, really helped.
And it made me think actually, "Okay, this is normal to feel like this and it's normal to have these wobbles and it's okay".
So, it was really, really nice to get that support as well.
So, please, please, please make sure you get the support if you need it and speak to the colleagues around you and other people.
The newly qualified nurses as well.
That really, really helps as well.
Tip 4. (5.15) Keep updated on policies and procedures
So, my tip number four is all about keeping on top of policies, procedures, guidelines, Public Health England, World Health Organization, all that jazz.
Keep on top of the current guidelines, and this is going to really, really help you, because if someone like a patient or something questioned something and you can say, "Well, actually this is the current policy. This is the guidelines and we have to go by that".
As long as you can rationalize things and justify things, then you're well in your right.
As long as you can provide evidence as well to patients, because sometimes they like the evidence behind things and the research, then you're going to be well away.
If you've got that stored in the back of your memory, or if you've got a book with it so you can refer back to it, it's going to really, really help you out at the time.
And it's going to give you that piece of confidence, because you're like, "Actually I know this".
It's going to be really, really helpful for you to know that.
But not only that, make sure you're revising as well.
Like I'm still revising.
Anything I don't know I'm looking it up, I'm Googling it, I'm going on obviously official websites and things like that, and watching YouTube videos to refresh my memory about anatomy and physiology.
Because if you don't keep on top of it, you do slip and forget about these little things.
So, it's really important that you do that and that's just going to give you that extra bit of confidence as well, because when someone questions you or asks you something, you're going to be like, "Actually I do know this. I looked at this yesterday".
So, yeah, obviously don't tell them that part.
Just look confident.
But, yeah, it's going to really, really help with your confidence as well, because you'll actually know the information and that does make us feel better.
So, that's a massive bonus I think.
Tip 5. (6.53) Always attend your mandatory training
Tip number five has to be always attend your mandatory training.
That's an obvious one, isn't it?
But, yeah, make sure that you have been trained as well.
So, ask your managers and whoever your mentor is, if you've got a mentor at the minute, go to your go-to person and just see if there's any mandatory training that you should be doing like life support, infection control, information governance, all of that sort of things.
Health and safety.
But keeping up to date with your mandatory training is really going to help your confidence too as well as e-learning.
So, I've been doing a lot of e-learning, which is on e-Learning for Healthcare.
Have a Google, you'll find it really, really easy, but there's tons, tons, tons, tons of e-learning on there.
And there's so much information and websites, and it's really regularly updated as well, so it's got all the relevant policies and procedures.
It's absolutely amazing and it's really, really a boost in your confidence as well.
When you're going to these training and you're getting something right and you think, "Yes, I can do this".
Again, it's all about just knowing that you can do it, but also being a little bit savvy as well and doing your training and doing your own learning.
Everyone says nursing is a lifelong learning and nursing really is lifelong learning.
Bonus tip (8.12) Keep hydrated and nourished
And finally on my last little tip, an extra bonus one, which is probably another obvious one.
I don't know if it is or not to some people, but to me it is obvious.
But keeping well hydrated and nourished, like make sure you're eating the right things, make sure you're having enough fluids out there.
It can be really, really easy to forget to drink.
We're constantly telling our patients, "Eat healthy, drink healthy, all of that, plenty of fluids".
But we forget to do it ourselves.
And it's really, really important, because if you're dehydrated it's going to cause a whole load of problems in your body, and memory and things like that.
So, you want to make sure you're well-hydrated, eating the right food, lots of fruit and veg as well to give you a bit of mental stimulation.
And that's going to really, really help you I think as well.
So, that's it.
On that note, I'm going to say goodbye and stop boring you all.
But I just... My last little piece of advice is just find what's good for you and what works for you.
I say this all the time, "We're all completely separate people, we're all individual, and whatever works for me might not work for you".
So, it's about finding your own balance, your own routine, and just getting into the swing of things in your own little ways and just... Yeah, whatever makes you feel confident, go and do that.