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Top tips for newly-qualified nurses

I qualified as a nurse in 2017. Although it can be a challenging role, being a nurse is very rewarding. Every day is different. I go home and know I’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life.

I’m learning how to be the best nurse possible and get the most out of my career. I also understand how to look after my own wellbeing and to avoid burnout! My top tips are:

  • Never be afraid to ask a question

No question is stupid! If there’s something you’re not sure of, especially when you’re newly-qualified, it’s always worth asking your line manager or colleague. Sometimes other colleagues have been wanting to ask the same thing and are happy that I have brought things up.

  • Hydrate yourself

I know it sounds clichéd, but keeping your brain and body hydrated is so important as a nurse. We tell our patients to do it and make sure they hydrate themselves, but sometimes we don’t follow our own good advice. On a busy 12-hour shift, you’ll be on your feet a lot of the time. Staying alert and on top form will help you to feel better and work better. We have hydration stations on every ward at the West Suffolk, which helps us ward staff to look after our own health.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust staff nurse Kelly Dargan, gives her top tips for newly-qualified nurses.
  • Be organised

We do have a lot to juggle as nurses, with lots of tasks and patients to attend to. I’ve found that it’s manageable as long as you keep things organised. Do things in order of importance, and ask your line manager if you’re not sure what your priorities are. If you can keep on top of your workload everything else falls into place.

  • Be a team player

Being a nurse is a team sport – we’re all working for the good of our patients, 100% of the time. If you lend a colleague a helping hand, they will inevitably do the same for you when you need it most. I get the best out of my shift when I feel like we’ve all pulled in the same direction and achieved amazing things for our patients.

  • Keep up to date on your skills

Education and experience go hand in hand. You’ll improve as a nurse over time; I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt since University. However you can speed up that improvement by doing training and brushing up on your skills where possible. I’m lucky that my manager always ensures I have access to our education centre and clinical training when possible, and encourages me to upskill and develop.

  • Invest in a good, comfortable pair of shoes!

Don’t underestimate the power of a comfortable, supportive shoe on a night shift…

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