5 Things Every New Nurse Needs to Know


As a new nurse, there are things you probably didn’t learn in nursing school. Your education and certifications can take you far, but here are five things every new nurse needs to know:

1. Your schedule will be all over the place.

Even after you are given a schedule with approved hours, shifts and vacations, it will likely change; another nurse will be sick, need emergency time off or have a family issue. Unlike other jobs where your co-workers can cover for each other, a healthcare facility usually has the need for a certain number of people to be at work. If one person doesn’t show, others will need to come in. As a new nurse, you may be asked to cover shifts for senior nurses, and this is a great time to show your attitude by helping out when you can.

2. You will make mistakes.

Hold yourself to a high standard, but realize you will make mistakes. Dwell on the mistakes long enough to remember what you did wrong and make a mental plan to not repeat the mistake, and then move on. You are new to this job and there is a learning curve, as with any new job. Your co-workers will expect the mistakes, but you should do your best to minimize the problems. Consider asking a senior nurse if you can shadow them for a couple hours during the week. Hands-on training is invaluable.

3. Practice improving your memory.

You will be expected to remember a lot of things during your shift, so devise a way to remember what’s important. It may mean keeping a journal, using mnemonic tricks or even keeping a detailed diary of your day when you have the time.

4. Your duties will vary and may not be what you expect.

You never know what your day will hold and while you may have extensive training, you might be performing menial tasks, especially in the beginning of your career. Be ready for whatever you’re asked to do and do it well. This goes a long way to show your worth to the team and gain respect from those around you.

5. Take care of yourself.

A career in nursing will sometimes hurt, physically. You will be bending over, lifting and moving patients, moving constantly and exposed to sick people daily. It is critical for you to stay strong physically; whether that means you stretch and meditate or run and lift weights, whatever you enjoy to stay healthy. As you age, the physical toll will be felt more but you can take the necessary steps to care for your body.

As a new nurse, one of the best things you can do is listen and be team player. Do what you’re asked to do and do it with a cheerful attitude. As you become the go-to new nurse, others will respect you and you’ll start climbing the ladder so you won’t be considered the newbie for long.

Start your nursing career off strong by having all your credentials in order. Check out the Nurse Backpack app today to get started!

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Nurse Backpack is a free mobile application that enables professional credential management for end-users themselves. Alerts, reminders, resume package building and sending is possible for free from the mobile app. Built for nurses originally, school nurses, nursing students, lifeguards and many other professionals also use the app for their license and credential management.