8 Tips to Survive Your First Day at a New Nursing Job

The first day at a new job definitely ranks pretty high up on the “nerve-wracking” list! Whether it’s your first nursing job right out of school or you’ve just moved to a new place of employment, your first day probably has your stomach doing backflips right about now. If this sounds familiar, keep reading for a few great tips that will help your first day at a new nursing job go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Get Some Sleep

The night before your first day is when the nerves usually hit. It can be difficult to sleep when you’re nervous and your mind is thinking about what might happen. Don’t make this worse by going to bed later! If you’re used to staying up late, start going to bed earlier about a week before your new job starts. This will give you plenty of time for your body to adjust to the new schedule. If you wait until the night before your first day to get to bed at a reasonable hour, your body and brain won’t be ready for it. This means that you could miss out on a few crucial hours of sleep that could mean the difference between a great day and a chaotic one.

  1. Get Your Morning Ready

One of the best things you can do to make your day go smoothly is to prepare for the morning the night before. Pack your bag with everything you need and double-check that you have your work ID and any documentation you need for your first day. Lay out your clothes and accessories and know how you will do your hair and/or makeup, if applicable. Make sure everything is good to go by the time you get to bed. That means that in the morning, all you have to do is get yourself ready and grab your things! Feeling prepared the night before will also help you get those 8 hours of sleep you need!

  1. Get There Early

If you’ve gotten your sleep and have prepared your morning the night before, there’s no reason not to be early to work. Plan to get to work about 20-30 minutes earlier than your shift. That might sound ridiculous and you might be worried about being too early, but there’s really no downside here. If you hit unexpected traffic, you have already given yourself a time cushion, so you’re less likely to be late. And if you get there early, you’re showing your boss that you are reliable and punctual. There’s also going to be a bit of settling in to do as you find your station and meet your new team. This is much better done before the rush of your shift begins. And if you arrive with what feels like far too much time, have a nice relaxing moment in your car to get ready for the day ahead. Put on some motivating music, sip a coffee, and prepare yourself mentally for the day to begin.

  1. Don’t Expect Too Much

On your first day, you are probably excited to get going. You’ve worked hard, you have earned a position, and you’re ready to show everyone what you can do. That’s a great attitude to have, so keep up the confidence! However, don’t forget that you don’t know everything, and that’s ok. No one expects you to. There is always a period at any new job where you will lose a bit of confidence as you struggle to learn routines, procedures, and policies. Don’t get disheartened! Instead, go into your first day with an attitude of being ready and willing to learn. Don’t worry too much about the mistakes you’ll make – because you will make them. Just do your best, pay attention, and be confident. You’ll get the hang of it soon, and in a few months,  no one will ever remember you were “new” once.

  1. Be Kind

Finally, don’t forget to be kind, not only to others but to yourself. You will experience some stress on your first day, and probably through the next few days as you get the hang of things. If you are managing your expectations, you should be fine, but don’t forget to be nice to others around you. More importantly, treat yourself with the grace that you hope others would show you. Don’t be too hard on yourself if there’s something you messed up on, or a concept you’re not getting. Be patient; you’ve got this!