Career advice

Get it right from the start

With graduation day over and their names and PIN numbers appearing on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, newly qualified nurses will soon be starting their first jobs.

With graduation day over and their names and PIN numbers appearing on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register, newly qualified nurses will soon be starting their first jobs.

For those of you about to embark on your career as a registered nurse, these practical tips will help that first day go smoothly:

Ensure you know the shift start times, the ward or clinic contact number and the names of the charge nurse and shift leader on your first day.

Make sure you are familiar with your new route to work, with a back up in the event of unexpected delay. Do a dummy-run beforehand. Allow plenty of time because it is easy to underestimate journey times in rush hour traffic; you do not want to be late on your first day.

Check out where to park in advance because hospital parking can be a challenge. Establish whether public transport would be an easier and cheaper option because parking can be costly.

Find out about parking charges beforehand. Do not assume that the parking meter will accept notes or debit cards. Take plenty of change.

Iron your uniform and gather your fob watch, scissors and other essentials together the night before to avoid a rush on the morning of your first day.

Ensure you have comfortable work shoes and consider wearing them in well in advance. You do not want blisters when you will certainly be on your feet all day.

Prepare a nutritious packed lunch the night before and take plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Pack a small supply of healthy snacks to ensure your energy levels are topped up.

Keep a pencil case stocked with black pens, highlighters and dry-wipe pens in your bag. Colleagues will ‘borrow’ these and you will never see them again.

Take your diary and a notebook; there is likely to be plenty of training to schedule and information to remember.

Try to get an early night and enough sleep so that you are rested and ready for your first day as a registered nurse.

Good luck.

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