The independence of finally becoming a full-fledged registered nurse is exciting, but it also means that now you are on your own. The transition from nursing school to actual nursing work is a drastic change, where studies and exams are replaced with the real-life responsibilities of caring for patients and overcoming new obstacles. This change may cause anxiety for newly graduated nurses. As you enter the real world of nursing, how can you deal with the oncoming anxiety? Here are some nursing tips for first-day jitters.
Identify Signs of Anxiety
First, look out for tell-tale signs such as difficulty sleeping or sweating profusely when you think about your first day. In extreme cases, your hands may even tremble uncontrollably when you are thinking about the tasks that lie ahead. Be honest with yourself and do not be embarrassed to admit your feelings.
It is important to accurately assess yourself for these signs of anxiety so you can take the necessary steps to deal with it.
Ask For Help
It’s as plain and simple as that. Although you might feel self-conscious at the beginning, just find yourself one go-to nurse. Explain that you need someone to fall back on for all your questions and ask her if she minds. Most of the time, nurses understand how you feel and will be glad to help if they can. Just knowing that you have someone to depend on will reduce your anxiety. Scrambling to find someone who can answer your questions can add unwanted stress.
Make Sure You Eat And Sleep
Eating and sleeping well are a must! If you don’t eat and sleep well, you cannot focus and remember the skills you worked so hard to master. You will not have the energy to deal with your patients and to stay awake during your shift.
Make sure you take the time for self-care. Limit caffeine intake since this stimulant causes the “fight or flight” response and leads to unwanted anxiety. Although nurses are known to live on coffee, scrubs, and rubber gloves, avoid the coffee until you are used to nursing life and your anxiety has gone down.
Learn How To Separate Home and Work
When at home, try to forget you are a nurse. Focus on relaxing, eating, and sleeping well. Get in some exercise and sweat out all the stress. Go out and spend time with loved ones, and forget all your work problems. Do the things you love, and leave your work at work.
Find A Support Group
Talking to peers going through the same thing as you can offer many benefits. First, you can vent your heart out. When you have a lot bubbled up inside you, it increases your anxiety. You may feel alone, lost, and drowning. Talking it out will lessen that uneasy feeling inside of you. Second, your support group can validate your feelings. You will realize that what you are experiencing is normal, that you are not alone, and that the group can help you come up with solutions. A mentor can give you tried and true tips for your specific nursing career, and walk you through the beginning rough times.
Anxiety is a familiar feeling for many new nurses. The key is being aware of your feelings and tackling them in the best possible way. Remember, if you are not functioning at your very best, it is hard to deliver the best care to your patients. For more nursing tips, head to CynaMed.