Welcome New Grads!

Wow where did the month of May go?!! It was one full of celebrations: NursesWeek, Mother’s Day and graduations. Time flies when you’re having fun – that’s for certain. I hope you all had memorable times this month as well.

As we head right into June, the celebrating continues with more graduations and Father’s Day. And summer will be upon us.  Hope the good times continue for you.

Speaking of graduations…
I had the honor recently of attending and speaking at a grad event at Santa Monica College. It was a fabulous event, and would have been something my own nursing class of many years ago could have appreciated and gotten a lot out of. I’m so happy to see these events taking place now to help students plan for their future education and vocation.

The students were quite impressive and I wish them all long and satisfying careers.i have to say that the admissions process  has greatly improved the prospects for graduating successful nursing candidates. This will help to diminish the drop out rate in schools and reduce the number of nurses who end up leaving the profession in the first couple of years.

Nursing is a challenging profession and it isn’t for everyone. One of the most commonly asked questions from nursing grads is: How long does it take to become comfortable in your role as a nurse?

“Yikes!! I Forgot Everything I Learned!”
One of the points I made to those students was that in your first days as a nurse you’re going to be certain that you have forgotten everything you ever learned in nursing school.  But another important thing to remember is that you didn’t learn everything you’ll need to know in nursing school. Nursing is a lifelong learning journey.

Give yourselves about a year to feel comfortable and confident. Don’t be disappointed that even after six months you aren’t truly comfortable. It will take time. Some of it will come quickly, and some things will just not be comfortable for a long time.

This helps new nurses to be extra cautious and learn the process of double checking everything so that you will DO NO HARM. Yes, you will make mistakes. We are all human and we make mistakes. But if you are always careful, those mistakes will be minor. They will nag at you forever as reminders to not get cocky and reckless.

First Job Won’t Be Your Dream Job
New grads will quickly find that they probably won’t find their dream job right away. And sometimes that dream will change many times over as they experience fields of nursing they never even considered. Give this process time as well.

Your first job is going to be more about getting your foot in the door and gaining some experience. Job seek with an open mind!!!! And be willing to relocate for awhile.  Look for new grad programs such as this one from Kaiser Permanente.

As the new kid on the block you’re going to have to pay your dues. You won’t get the best shifts, the best hours, the best case loads. You’re going to have to be preceptored and mentored to ensure that your skills are solid and your level of practice is safe. You will be working all of the holidays for awhile. And weekends will be more about working than having fun with your friends and family.

It’s all part of the process. Soon enough there will be a new group of newbies to take some (but never all) of that burden off your shoulders.

Advanced Degrees and Certifications
Always consider furthering your education whether it be with an advanced degree or through certifications. These will always give you the advantage when being considered for a job. Even as a new grad you can get a certification in ACLS  and you’ll be ahead of the new grad competing for the same job who doesn’t have this yet.  Throughout your career there will be opportunities to improve your skills and knowledge — take advantage!!