6 Essentials for Graduate Nurses

Many nurses can feel like they are completely sinking in their first few months, struggling to keep their patients alive, to handover the right things and even get out on time. This can be debilitating along with adjusting to full time shift work, working round the clock, and being accountable to work every day. For such a challenge, here are some tips to make it easier…

1.       Eat a sustainable meal.

Go food shopping and make multiple meals for yourself and pop them in your freezer. If people tell you that you gain weight in your grad year, know that you don’t have to. If you make healthy food a priority, and eat more whole foods and vegetables, you will thrive. Also remember that you must eat regularly through the day, take your breaks, eat breakfast to sustain your energy and prevent overrating when you get home.

2.       Create sleep routines.  

Quality sleep is vital for all nurses and especially graduate nurses making the transition from student to RN. Sleep hygiene is a collection of behaviors and environmental conditions that aim to ensure a restorative and good quality sleep. Simple things like: removing all technology from your bedroom so it is just for sleep and intimacy only, to help train your brain to associate bed with sleep, removing all clutter, devices and keeping your room ventilated. Also exercising daily, limiting your caffeine in the afternoon, having a 1-2 hour technology and eating curfew before you bed time can help your bedtime routine to ensure a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep. Nursing can be a stressful job and you may find yourself worrying about your shift whilst trying to sleep, adding the practice of mindfulness to your daily sleep routine may help you focus your mind on the present and have a restful night’s sleep.

3.       Surrounding yourself with friends within the health profession.

Shift work can be hard on your social life, working late/early shifts on weekends and long stretches without a day off can really take its toll. Be proactive about sharing your roster with friends to plan your catch ups and events. More importantly get out and make friends with your colleagues. There is nothing like a de-brief to help get something off your chest, especially to another health professional. As your other fiends of family my not fully understand what you are going through.

4.       Budget and Salary Package.

Highly recommend buying The Barefoot Investor and taking your time to program your finances, take advantage of salary packaging, get saving for your new car, overseas holiday or house deposit. Get planning living your life and scheduling your annual leave.

5.       Yes, you have to work 7 days straight.

It is part of your profession and part of the EBA. Though make the most of your days off! The things that get scheduled are the things that get done. You need to schedule in things that make you happy, take yourself shopping, book in social gatherings, and make contact with friends to catch up.  Even if you don’t feel like it, make the effort to maintain and build relationships and hobbies.

6.       Get to know your roster system and make your requests.

There is nothing more agonizing then waiting for your roster requests to come out, so put them in, you are allowed to request. Particularly when you have a special occasion. And if you don’t get your requests, ask, and swap. And swap back for others too. 

 By Elyse Coffey in collaboration with Amy Benn