For Physicians Work Life

How to Survive Your First Year as a Nurse

Nurses having a meeting

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You did it! You survived nursing school, you studied relentlessly to pass the NCLEX, you excelled during your interview and tomorrow is your first day as a nurse! What do you do? How are you feeling? What should you be feeling? No need to fret, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ll share with you some of our tips to help you survive your first year as a nurse.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Because of the consequences of getting things wrong can be so high for nurses, it’s important to not be afraid to ask questions. Everyone tends to feel shy or embarrassed when asking questions at a new job. But you have a great resource of experienced people around you and you need to make use of that. Always put the patient’s well-being first when not sure about something and ask someone for help.

Listen to your patients

Chances are your patient is frightened, anxious and may not understand what is happening around them. By listening to them carefully and attentively, you’ll gain their trust. By building this sense of trust, you can develop an effective plan of care based on their needs.

Be a team player

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘there is no I in team’. When it comes to this profession, teamwork is important especially when you’re building a reputation in your first year. The only way for a unit to work effectively is through teamwork. We encourage you to get to know your coworkers and be always lend a helping hand.

Invest in your shoes

As a nurse, you’re constantly on your feet for 12-hour shifts walking, caring for patients and lifting heavy objects. Investing in a high-quality pair of nursing shoes can do wonders for easing joint and muscular pain and taking the pressure off your legs and back.

Learn to prioritize

It is very easy to get overwhelmed as a new nurse. You’ll quickly notice you’ll have a multitude of tasks to complete, there will be days you’ll have several different patients – all with different symptoms, and sometimes you’ll forget you haven’t had lunch yet. Learning how to prioritize through questioning, dialogue with other nurses, and reflecting on the decisions you make will strengthen your ability to break down the demands of a situation quickly and efficiently. Remember: Critical thinking skills and time management are tightly bound together.

Remember that it gets better

Nursing is a tough job and some days are going to more difficult than others. But you became a nurse for a reason and it’s a great feeling when you realize, “You’ve got this!” Your first year as a nurse will fly by and before you know it, you’ll begin to feel more confident.


Are you looking to start a career with AdventHealth as a new nurse graduate? Our Nurse Residency Program is designed to help you make a smooth transition into the hospital and specialty unit!

Learn More about Nurse Residency Program

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