At one point or another, we all have been the new nurse on the unit. This could happen due to being a new grad, changing jobs or specialties. Regardless, we have all been there. That being said, here are ten tips all new nurses can use to gain respect at work.
- Show up.
Yes, this may sound like a no brainer. Do not start off the career you worked so hard for and put in such long hours studying for by having a chronic tardiness or absenteeism problem.
- Schedule your leaves.
If you feel like you need some mental health days to deal with the stress, schedule them. Everyone accrues some form of vacation or paid time off days. Use them; do not save them to cash them in at the end of the year. This way, you can plan a quick get-away or just hide under the covers with your favorite animal on a long weekend and get a needed sanity break from the floor.
- Join a committee.
Put your two cents in and feel useful. No one wants to hear about how unhappy they are at work. Turn the negative into a positive. Join a group focused on improving the new nurses’ experience in the hospital.
- Promote education.
You can easily do this by taking yourself to the next level. Most hospitals offer tuition reimbursement of some kind. Take advantage of it. There are some nurses who don’t want to feel obligated to their hospital by taking a penny and then being stuck there to pay it back. On the contrary, look at it as an experience to grow. If you stay to repay the loan, you can use the new skills you just acquired to show everyone the changes you made in yourself.
- Come to work looking like a million bucks.
As a new nurse, everyone is watching you to see if your uniform is ironed, and your hair and makeup are two accessories you can’t afford to do without. A professional look that illustrates the consummate nurse leader you are now or aspire to be in the future must be showcased at all times. You have the job and spending a tiny bit of money to look good won't be of any harm.
- Volunteer to float.
You can even try another floor. Other nurses respect their colleagues who aren’t afraid of a little adventure. If the need arises for someone to float, go for it. You may enjoy the experience, broaden your clinical skills and make some lasting friendship in the process.
- Set a goal.
Don’t hesitate to reach for your goals. If you want to move into the ICU or ER, don’t say it will happen later and expect a miracle. The new nurse will gain the respect of their colleagues if they express an interest in another area and implement a plan to get there.
- Create a support group.
Find out who the other new nurses are at work and create an informal support group for each other. Being new in a big or closed ranks small organization can be intimidating for some people.
- Focus on the bigger picture.
It says volumes if you survive in the workplace and make it through your probationary period which is usually three months if you are a new nurse or even a seasoned nurse in a new gig. Be proud of that accomplishment.
- Have a break.
Finally, give yourself some downtime to disconnect from the world after a long shift. Rest is crucial. You cannot be running around 24/7. Take care of yourself by watching your favorite TV show, taking care of your pets and even having your favorite food after a long day or night in the hospital.
Hopefully, these tips will energize as well as inspire you when you start your journey as the new nurse at work. Having the respect of our coworkers can only serve to boost our self-esteem and faith in our own abilities.