10 things new nurses need to know

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Being a new nurse can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun | Photo Credit: Canva

Going into nursing can be incredibly daunting. It’s a new environment, where you meet new people and learn new skills. Here’s our top ten tips for jumping into the profession.

  1. You won’t know everything, and that’s ok

Everyone knows that you’re a new nurse, so it’s ok not to know everything. While nursing school and your pracs can give you a lot of knowledge, you’ve still got a whole career to learn about your new profession.

  1. You will be on your own – a lot

As a new grad, don’t expect to be hand held the whole time. While you might have quite a bit of orientation and education, you’ll also be left on your own at times. Don’t be scared though – stick to what you know and seek assistance where you need to, and you’ll be just fine.

  1. “Thank-you!” goes a long way

You’ll be working with a lot of people over your time as a nurse who will be helping you out. Whether it’s your educator or mentor, or the person you’ve been team nursing with on shift, make sure you thank them.

Photo Credit: Canva
  1. Always do what’s best for your patient

As nurses, we’re here to be patient advocates. However hard or annoying it might be, make sure you stay true to your role. Their lives are literally depending on it.

  1. A bad shift DOES NOT make you a bad nurse

Like every other job, being a nurse comes with its good days and its not-so-good days. Despite this, remember to just keep going. Those days may be hard – it may even make you doubt whether you should be a nurse – but trust me, a bad shift doesn’t make you a bad nurse.

  1. Make sure you join your union

While most days will be fine and dandy, you’ll also be faced with some shocker shifts. Whether it’s a self-harming patient, an understaffed ward, or just an unfortunate mistake, you can find yourself in a little bit of trouble. When these days happen, you’ll want the support of your nursing union. They’ll be able to assist you in the Nursing and Midwifery Council or the Health Care Complaints Commission. Plus, they’ll even represent you in the dreaded Coroner’s Court!

Make sure you join your union | Photo Credit: NSWNMA
  1. There’s no such thing as a “stupid question”

It might seem a little bit embarrassing, but make sure you ask lots of questions – even when they may seem silly or benign. Trust me, there’s no such thing as a stupid question when you’re a nurse!, Better to be safe than sorry..

  1. Self care isn’t an option – it’s a necessity

You can’t care for others if you can’t care for yourself. Make sure you look after your own physical and mental health, particularly as you transition into the nursing workforce.

If you need a hand with self care, make sure you check out the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association’s self care courses. They’re a lot of fun, and count for your CPD.

Check out some courses on self care | Photo Credit: NSWNMA
  1. Take the time to listen to your patients

Listening to your patients is key our professions. How can you perform your job as a carer and advocate if you don’t listen to the person you’re looking after. Sometimes it may seem impossible – particularly when you’re short staffed – but it’s critical to the work that we do.

  1. You’ll change – in all aspects of your life

Nursing is an all-encompassing role. You never really stop being a nurse, even when you’re out of your scrubs. Whether it’s your ability to care, listen to patients, or manage time and resources, your nursing skills will change everything from who you are as a parent to how you do your shopping!

Look, this might all seem daunting, but you’ve got a great cohort and profession by your side. You’ve also got an incredible Professional Association backing you every step of the way. So get to it, and enjoy the roller coaster that will be your nursing career.


Do you know what benefits you’re entitled to as a member of the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association?

Our members in the public, private and aged care sectors have together achieved great gains for our profession. By becoming a member, you’ll be joining over 67,000 nurses and midwives in NSW and share the benefits of belonging while participating in a wide range of Association activities – as often or as little as you choose. Membership is also fully tax deductible.

Check out all the benefits on this page. If you are not yet a member and would like us to contact you, please complete this form:

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