Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A-Z on Qualifying as a Registered Nurse

It has been a little while since I have brought you anything nursing related here on the blog - and to be honest with you I don't really know why its taken so long. I do enjoy doing my advice posts about my profession, but at the same time I really do need to be in the correct frame of mind to want to talk about things work related when I actually do have a day off (its definitely a rarity right now). 

Nursing is not always something which people understand - meaning that all people seem to think we do is the basic jobs and basic nursing care (which yes, we do) but believe me, that's not all we do and there is a hell of a lot of brain power involved. Especially when you work in an environment like intensive care, because your mind is always on the go and you get a hell of a lot of autonomy to make decisions! I won't go into my career choice to much on this post because that could well be a conversation for another day (if you guys like). 

I really wanted to put together an A-Z for newly qualified nurses because its that time of year when you have to commit your lives to the NMC, say goodbye to university and start your brand new job in your chosen field of nursing and sometimes its just nice to have a little direction. I'll be honest, when I started my job I had only just started my blog and it was very much beauty and fashion orientated and because of that I never really knew that I could search online and find tips about qualifying from other nurse bloggers out there! So, I wanted to be that helping hand for newly qualified nurses because this would have helped me so much and relieved so much anxiety I had at the time. 

- Arrange to go in for a visit to your new work. This tip is super important because they will show you where you need to be on your first day, provide you with your shifts, plus you will get to meet some of your new colleagues as well as getting a feel for the environment you will be working in and what kind of things go on on a daily basis. 

- Believe in yourself. Qualifying and starting your first job is not easy, but enjoy it and take it all in your stride!  

- Create your own way of working. You will be really surprised by this, but honestly you learn so much more about your job when you are left to your own devises and have responsibility for your own patients! You will learn the ways of working which are best for you and make you get the job done as quickly and effectively as possible. 

- Don't be frightened! You have got this far, and yes its pretty scary now being given all of the responsibility all of a sudden but it is something which you get used to, and you should be so proud of where you are right now! 

- Equipment. For your first day, ensure you have a pocket watch, a pen (black and red), a highlighter (my handover sheets were always covered with highlighter), hand cream, a pen torch, black comfy shoes, lip balm (you will be surprised how sore your lips actually get), scissors. 

- First impressions are key! So therefore do not be late on your first day, offer help to anyone who needs it, be friendly, polite & not rude in any way, offer to learn! First impressions are crucial for creating good bonds with people and at the end of the day its all about team work, you want your team to be behind you and willing to help you therefore you need to create a good impression!

- Get to know your colleagues. Don't be one of these people who is not willing to get involved with your colleagues outside of work, its healthy to know the people you work with on more of a personal level. It gets you through the shift so much easier when you don't just converse about work related things! So meet up, chat, go out for meals and drinks - get involved with as much as possible. 

- Help out your colleagues. At the end of the day if you help people, they will hopefully help you back when you need it. Don't be one of them people who accepts all the help but never gives it back. Nobody likes working with someone like that or being around a member of the 'team' who doesn't know the meaning of the word teamwork. 

- IV Drugs. Now you are qualified this will be something you will now be able to do! Scary I know. A key piece of advise I have would definitely be to get your IV competency packages done as quickly as possible, it makes life so much easier. Also really read up on how to make up drugs, how you give them, how quickly you give them and their side effects and what they can do or should do! This is super important and helps you understand more about patients conditions changing as well as improving. 

- Junior Staff. Do not forget that you are just junior and new. If you make mini mistakes then just remember you are only human and very new and learning. Give yourself a break! 

- Knowledge. Learn about your workplace, what kind of conditions to expect to see, what kind of patients you are likely to get, what equipment you will be using, what kind of drugs you will be using. Knowledge is literally key to understanding your job, and you can learn mainly by time and actually being faced with looking after particular patients, but also you can read around a little bit to learn about what you are likely to see and deal with. 

- Learn! Qualifying makes you realise that you actually did not know that much about being a nurse. I find that University was fab for teaching you theory of communication, holistic care and everything else. But honestly until you are faced with being responsible for your own patients and providing care independently, then you will truly begin to learn so much more! I have learnt so much more in the last 2 years than I ever knew in my 3 years at University! 

- Make a good impression! Be willing to help others, learn, attend teaching sessions, Do not shy away from opportunities, be approachable, friendly and kind. This ties in with first impressions because they really are key to creating a good base for your working relationships. 

- Note pad. Buy one!! Honestly, my note pad is literally my life! I don't know where I would be without it when I am at work. I write everything important down so that I don't forget and also I make lists of jobs that need to get done that day so that nothing ever gets missed! 

- Organise yourself. I can not stress this enough! The note pad definitely helps towards my organisation but also having the right mindset too! You will not believe how hefty of a workload you actually have when you are a nurse and if you are on a busy ward or unit then you will not believe how long your to-do list actually is. Therefore, figuring out the best way to organise and prioritise your jobs will be the best thing you can do to ensure you don't miss anything important off your list! 

- Punctuality! Don't be that annoying person who always walks in handover late. Lateness is just an annoyance really, and not necessary. At the end of the day if you are finding that you are not leaving yourself enough time to set off for work, then set off earlier. The same excuse will not wash for long, honestly. 

- Questions! Ask them. No question is a silly one, if you don't know something then ask! Its better to ask and then find out the answer than do something wrong isn't it?

- Roster! This is a word that will become your best friend once you are qualified and officially in the numbers! Roster pro is a system that most places use to work out shifts and it actually allows nurses and other members of staff to request a certain amount shifts they want on or off. Seriously, I cannot stress enough to request because if you don't then they may assume that you never make any plans and are completely ok to work absolutely everything and anything! 

- Super-numery. Make the most of your super-numery, which if you do not know is the time when you first qualify but are not actually counted into the number of nurses on the ward. This is your opportunity to get a feel for your work place, learn about the routine and environment. Really make the most of this period of time before its time for you to have your own patients to be responsible for. 

- Treat yourself! You have just been a student nurse for the last 3 years and worked your absolute butt off for nothing! Therefore I am not against treating yourself once or twice with your first pay check! Why not, you have worked hard to get where you are now!! 

- Understand what you are doing. Do not try to attempt anything new and complicated without seeing someone else do it first. You don't want to make a mistake at the end of the day, and I am not saying you will make a mistake but its best to be sure of how you do something before just jumping in and doing it when you don't have a clue! This is your time to ask!! There should be no shame in asking at all. 

- Valuable. Just remember now, everything you do for your patients is extremely valuable to their experiences of being in hospital. This will be remembered not only by them, but also by their relatives. So ensure to always act with integrity, whilst being approachable, professional, friendly, caring and every other positive word you can think of!  

- Writing! Documentation is crucial now you are qualified! Your writing at the end of the day is your legal account of the care you have provided and the goings on of your shift that day so you need to ensure that whatever you write is legible, factual and not opinionated in any way. 

- X - Lets be honest, I cannot find a word to describe Qualifying beginning with X, ha! 

- You are responsible now! I am talked about this a lot in the above points but obviously its completely accurate. Every act of care you provide is now your complete responsibility and you need to ensure that you care for you patients in the best way you can. You need to ensure that you are using evidence based practice and ensuring you adhere to guidelines and policies!  

- Z - Another letter I could simply not think of a word for. But I think I have given you enough to think about above anyway! :) 

I really hope that this A-Z list of tips has helped you out or given you a little insight in what to expect now you are a qualified nurse. The last thing I want to do is terrify you all and I really hope that I have not done that. I just think that if I had read something similar to this prior to starting my first nursing job, that I would have felt much more prepared and had my eyes open for what to expect. 

If you guys want to see more posts related to nursing and my job in general or even just university tips, then please feel free to comment that below. I am also in the middle of putting together another Q&A over on my youtube channel which I want to answer any questions you have about nursing, qualifying etc - so if you have any questions then feel free to tweet me them, comment on my instagram, send me an email at laurenthwaites14@outlook.com, send me a snapchat 'whatlaurenloves' or even just comment them down below. As soon as I have enough questions to answer I will be putting that together for you all! 

Please be sure to head over to my channel and subscribe too by clicking here, and check out the 2 videos I have already created for you all which are nursing related - 2015 one here and 2016 one here

Much Love 



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