• 08 September 2021
  • 11 min read

Newly Registered Nurses: 6 Nurses Give Advice

  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer
    • Mat Martin
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
  • 0
  • 291
Play video: "They know you're gonna need support. They know you're gonna have questions. So please, don't be afraid to ask."

We’ve compiled some of the best tips & advice for Newly Registered Nurses, from our Nursing contributors. We hope these tips help you feel a little more confident about starting your Nursing career.

Topcis covered in this article

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

The Benefits Of Shift Work

Speak Out About Unsuitable Shift Patterns

Always Advocate For Your Patient

A Tip For Working Night Shifts

Take Your Breaks Properly

Avoid Workplace Politics & Gossip

Stay Hydrated

Ask Your Employer About Their Preceptorship Program

Remember Why You Became A Nurse

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Chloe - Mental Health Nurse

Watch the full video here.

If you are just about to start as a newly qualified nurse, I can give you a little bit of advice, help you feel a little bit more confident, and get you excited, ready to start your career. My first tip, which is definitely the most important if you take nothing else from this video, please do not be afraid to ask questions and to ask for support. Just because you're qualified, people aren't gonna expect you to walk in and know everything and be able to do everything and just go off and be completely independent from day one. Nobody expects that of a newly qualified nurse.

They know you're gonna need support. They know you're gonna have questions. So please, don't be afraid to ask. Don't be afraid to speak up if you're not sure about something, you know? Don't worry about looking stupid. They think you know, I'm qualified. I should know this. You might just come across some things that you never dealt with as a student nurse. So if you've never dealt with it before, you're not gonna know how to handle it and that's absolutely fine. You're much better off just putting your hand up and saying, "I don't know how to do this. Can you help me with this?”. Than trying to do it on your own and doing it wrong.

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One of the really important things within the NMC code of conduct is that as a nurse, you work within your limits and you know what you're capable of, and that's what you do. For example, as a student, if somebody said, "Oh, do you wanna go and give an injection for the first time?" You probably wouldn't just say, "Yeah, let's go and do it now." You'd probably say, "Can you talk me through it first? Give me a chance to read up about it. Can I watch you doing it first?" And that's exactly the same thing when you're a qualified nurse. If you've never done something before and you don't know how to do it, just say.

I'm actually super excited 'cause obviously we're gonna have some newly qualified starting on my ward soon. And I'm really excited to be able to support them and help them to feel as confident that they possibly can, because I know how terrifying it is walking into a ward on that first day and going, "Hi, I'm Chloe. I'm your new staff nurse." I was petrified. I was absolutely petrified. You know, you could have been the most competent student nurse that has ever lived, and it's still a completely different ball game when you step onto that ward for the first time as a qualified nurse. Everything just feels really different.

The Benefits Of Shift Work

Grace Barry - Paediatric Nurse

Watch the full video here.

The things I didn't expect within nursing that I now live the most, working shifts. When I started, I thought the working shifts was horrendous and I was gonna be very tired all the time. Whereas in actual fact I love working shifts because I really like being there with a family and a patient for a whole 12 and a half hours. You've really got to know them and build up an amazing relationship with them. And if you're there for maybe two days and a night shift in a row, and you're able to go back, you have such good continuity of care and you know what's going on with that patient so you can give them the best care you can.

I just really actually like the above shift where you get a nice few days off generally to recover afterwards as well and recuperate from maybe a very difficult or an emotionally intense situation. You've got those days off afterwards to relax. And you also have days off in the week as well as the weekend. And it kind chops and changes. So I do like that above shift option, even though you're not always guaranteed to be able to see your friends sometimes on a Friday evening.

Find out more about how to make the most of your time off.

Speak Out About Unsuitable Shift Patterns

Nicola Wiafe - NICU Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Speaking out about unsuitable shift patterns, it can be really, really difficult speaking out about the roster and speaking up about poorly rostered shifts. But one thing that I always say is that poor staffing is not an excuse for badly rostered shifts. And I'm not encouraging you to just, you know, speak out against the roster because you're being made to work a weekend or speak out against the roster because you've got some nights shifts.

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I'm talking about rosters, where you don't have adequate rest days before you go from days to nights and back into days again. I'm speaking about roasters where you're being made to work every single weekend. It's really important that those sorts of rosters are addressed and spoken about to ensure that you are getting a good work-life balance and also to allow you to rest and to recuperate so that you can give your patients the very best version of you.

Always Advocate For Your Patient

Yvette Opuku - School Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Always ensure you remain at advocate for your patient. Now at NMC teaches us that our patients are our first priority. This is true in many cases and it's very important to have our patients at the centre of our care. Having our patients at the centre of your care means that all their needs are met. This ensures that patients receive a high quality standard of care. This is what allows you to feel fulfilled in your nursing role and keep on going.

A Tip For Working Night Shifts

Alexandria Grace - Student Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Today I thought I would give you guys some advice on how to prepare for a night shift, which has been really helpful for me as I got this advice from my cousin who was a nurse, and that really helped me as a student to kind of adjust to night shift life. So the night before a shift, I will go to bed quite late, maybe 2:00 or 3:00 AM, and I will wake up at normal time, maybe about nine o'clock, 10 o'clock, eat breakfast and lunch as usual and then have a nap at about three, four, wake up around 5:00 5:30, and then get ready and prepare all my food and stuff, have some food before I leave for the shift. And that kind of helps me to adjust to the different hours that I have to stay up for and it just makes me feel a bit less tired.

Take Your Breaks Properly

Chloe - Mental Health Nurse

Watch the full video here.

The next thing that again I cannot emphasise enough, take your breaks. Take your breaks. You need a break, take a break. And this is something that I am definitely guilty of doing myself. I don't always take my breaks because unfortunately, you know, I'm aware that it isn't always possible, but go out of your way to have your breaks because you don't want to be getting burnt out. Like there were some shifts when I go home, it's been a really, really busy shift and I haven't had chance to have a break, I sometimes find that I'll get home after a 12 and a half hour shift and I literally can't function. I can't concentrate enough to like watch TV or read a book. I'm not in the mood to have a conversation with anyone. And then it means that my work life is affecting my personal life which it really shouldn't do.

So I know it isn't always possible, but please try your absolute hardest to take your breaks. You don't want to be getting burnt out. I mean, you don't want to be getting burned out at any point in your career, but you definitely don't want to be getting burnt out as soon as you start your career. They are important. They really are. But I think sometimes even though it might feel like you're really busy, you're actually gonna be more productive if you've had a break. You know, being really stressed and hungry and thirsty, it's gonna make you less productive. So even if you don't have time to take your whole hour break, take half an hour, go and have a cup of tea, go and have something to eat and when you come back, you're gonna be more productive.

Avoid Workplace Politics & Gossip

Nicola Wiafe - NICU Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Avoid workplace politics and gossip. Getting yourself involved in workplace politics and gossiping can actually be really detrimental to your health and wellbeing. And it can also have an impact on your professionalism. So I always advise people to stay out of it, stay out of the gossiping, stay out of the workplace politics and just focus on yourself.

Stay Hydrated

Yvette Opuku - School Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Tip number four, ensure you remain hydrated throughout your shift. Now, how can you do that? Invest in a bottle like this and this will make you never forget to drink on shift. Sometimes shifts can be really busy and it can be really hard to keep on going down to the fountain to have a cup of water or fill up your water bottle. But when you have a bottle like this, there's no way you can forget to drink.

Ask Your Employer About Their Preceptorship Program

Chloe - Mental Health Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Your preceptorship is gonna vary massively depending on where you're working, which trust you're in, different trusts might have their own, different areas might have their own. Whether you're NHS or private preceptorship is gonna differ. So if you haven't yet interviewed for your first job as a qualified nurse, it's well worth asking about their preceptorship program. How does it work? What support do you get? What safeguards are there in place? It's a really good question to ask at the end of an interview, because it shows that you're thinking about going to work there.

Remember Why You Became A Nurse

Claire Carmichael - GP Nurse

Watch the full video here.

Just remind yourself why you came into nursing, why you wanted to be a nurse, what was it that you wanted to gain from this? What did you, what complete reason did you wanna come because it's not gonna be a selfish reason. Because it's not for the money. It's gonna be because you wanna help other people. You wanna make a difference in someone else's life. You wanna make a change to somebody else's life. You wanna make somebody else's life better because that makes you feel good inside.

Just whatever your reason is for coming into this profession, just remind yourself of that and think, do you know what, I've come so far. Look at how far I've come. Look at everything I've achieved. Look at all of the failures that I've overcome in the end whether it's a failure, fail in an exam maybe, whether you've made a slight mistake, but then you've corrected it all and you've overcome it and you're standing here today, still here today. Just remind yourself of how amazing you are, how far you've come and actually look to the future and look to if you're a student nurse, look to qualifying.

How you're gonna feel putting on your blues and your first day as a qualified nurse and someone says, "Nurse." And that is you and you finally got that moment, you're a qualified nurse. You're a staff nurse. You're a community nurse. You're a Band 5, Band 6, Band 7, Band 8, whatever point you get up to just see that goal, see the end goal and just remind yourself that actually people need us. It's not a selfish profession because you can't be selfish in this profession.

We are here to help with the people. We are here to love and care for our patients and make their lives better and make a difference to them. And that above all, just really motivates me and I remind myself that constantly when I feel down or if I feel really deflated after a bad shift, I remind myself of actually that moment and why I came into nursing and how long it's taken me and just seeing the future and the end goal and just thinking, oh my God, yes, I've got six months left now. Let's do this. And it honestly, it just makes my day and it should make your day and it should get you motivated again and just actually make you realise, do you know what? I can do this.

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Do you have any questions?

Post your questions & comments below

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About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer

I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer

About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer

I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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