New Kid on the Team

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Starting a new job in a new place can be nerve wracking even for seasoned nurses like me. I’m working at a major hospital in the city that I grew up in, and I almost forgot what it was to go back to work in a hospital setting coming from a small, free-standing ambulatory day surgery center. I’m working in the same area as I used to work prior to ambulatory care—in preop and stage II. I was feeling like a new grad again; all those emotions that I felt as a brand-new nurse came back to me. I was nervous, excited and anxious.

Starting any new job can be filled with promise and expectations, but it can also be marked with uncertainty. I found some approaches that has helped me transition into my new environment:

  • Attend the hospital orientation to gain insight into what to expect on the unit and from your managers.
  • Working closely with your preceptor by listening to their wisdom. Ask questions and for help when you need it. It’s better to ask for clarification before completing a task the wrong way. I keep a small notepad on hand and chart any pertinent info that I might need for later.
  • Take initiative by doing something like helping a coworker or a team leader. By bonding with the team, coworkers will view you as a team player.
  • Act confident. At times, we all feel unsure, even though we know what we are doing. Don’t underestimate yourself.
  • Keep a positive attitude and don’t give up on yourself or the institution when you get frustrate. Any change is frightening, and it takes time to adapt to a new role. Stay away from negative attitudes and gossip. Judge every nurse for yourself; nurses all have different personalities
  • Set priorities and goals, learn to evaluate which needs are most critical and look for ways to delegate tasks. Set your goals and achieve them.
  • First impressions are important, so dress professional, establish good attendance, befriend and support staff and management and show your appreciation to everyone who helps you learn the ropes during your first days on the job.
  • Help your fellow coworkers during your downtime, and they will help you in the future.
  • Learn to be efficient and organized. Grouping tasks that need to be done for each patient will save you time in the end. Remember, doing it right the first time is the right thing to do.
  • Take a break, sit down and eat. A five-minute break to go to the bathroom is needed. You will learn after time that if you don’t take care of yourself, you will not able to care for others. And remember to de-stress and take time for yourself.

At times, I feel frustrated and discouraged, and I find myself thinking, “Did I make the right decision in changing to a new job?” Change is frightening at first. I realize that I will need at least six months time to adapt to my new job so I feel comfortable and I won’t feel stressed.

Remember: Rome was not built in one day.

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About Author

Samantha Therrien, RN
Samantha Therrien, RN

Samantha is an RN with 21 years of nursing experience. She has a diversified background in multiple areas of nursing, particularly in management. Currently, she works in a fast-paced ambulatory surgical center, where she manages the preoperative area, staff, patients and scheduling.

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