Career advice

How to survive your first day in a new job

You're bound to be a bit nervous, but you'll never have a second chance to make a first impression. Here's how to get off to a great start

Starting a new job can be exciting and daunting in equal measure, but there are things you can do to alleviate nerves on your first day.

The first thing to remember is that you were hired for a reason, and your new employer believes in you.

‘You have the qualifications and experience to do the job, so you have every reason to believe that you’re up to it,’ says Simon Hudson, director at recruiting agency Hays Healthcare.

Mr Hudson also advises drawing on previous positive experiences as a great way to remember how resilient you can be.

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‘Jot down a few instances where you have coped with change effectively and keep these at the forefront of your mind for your first few days,’ he advises.

And don’t be a shrinking violet, however tempting it can be to keep to yourself when starting a new job.

‘Working with a new team, in a new environment, with new patients and caseloads can be daunting, so the sooner you get to know the people you work with and how things are done, the more relaxed you’ll feel in your new job,’ he adds.

Healthcare recruiter MSI Group’s chief executive officer Nick Simpson agrees you should not let nerves stop you from engaging with colleagues, however busy they seem.

The first thing to remember is you are hired for a reason

‘The sooner you determine local policies and procedures, the sooner you can start delivering,’ Mr Simpson says.

‘Unlike other sectors where you are likely to have the luxury of a bedding-in period to find your feet, nurses usually have to hit the ground running, so research the trust and review the job spec to make sure you arrive prepared.’

But don’t lose sight of the fact that, in the healthcare profession, you are never going to know everything.

Registered nurse and managing director of Cordant Occupational Health Services Julie Parry explains: ‘Have faith in your competency and abilities, with your patients at the heart of everything you do. And if you don’t feel confident in carrying out a task given to you, speak up and ask for help. It’s important to acknowledge that there are always going to be things that happen in healthcare that you haven’t seen or done before.’

Make sure you have plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol the night before you start.

And if you aren’t familiar with the journey to your new place of work, either allow plenty of time or do a test run beforehand. Good luck!.

Do be early and plan your journey beforehand

Do make a concerted effort to get to know your colleagues

Do listen, observe, research – do more listening than talking

Do get organised – you will be multitasking, prioritising and thinking on your feet, so managing your time will be crucial

Do be flexible and patient in getting to know the routine and protocols

Don’t talk about how things were done differently/better in your old job

Don’t make rash judgments about people

Don’t rush to make friends – build trust and respect

Don’t rush in to make a big impact – work within your competencies

Don’t hide away – be focused and engaged

Source: Julie Parry, managing director, Cordant Occupational Health Services

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