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6 Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Hospital RN

6 Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Hospital RN

Lisette Hilton | Monster Contributing Writer

Observe the Unit

Simply touring the unit won’t give you a good idea of how people work together, Kyriakidis says. Because it takes a while for people to let their guard down when someone is watching, make sure you observe for a few hours so you get a clearer picture of the unit’s interpersonal dynamics.

Consider Working on a Specialty Unit First

Benner says her research on first-year nursing indicates that it’s actually easier for many new nurses to start on a specialty unit, such as labor and delivery or a highly staffed pediatrics unit, because the patients on those units are more homogenous than those on a medical/surgical unit.

“If you take a position on a general medical/surgical unit, the range of patients is quite broad,” Benner say. “If you work on intensive-care or coronary-care units, you will have more of a controlled patient population.”

Get Your Feet Wet

That’s what first-year nurse Girish Dang, RN, a psychiatric nurse at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s inpatient psych unit, did. While he was getting his ADN at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts, Dang worked on the hospital’s psych unit as a psychiatric counselor. He credits that experience with helping him hit the ground running when he began working as a nurse on the unit, because he was already familiar with the culture and knew whom he could lean on for help.

The same can’t be said for all of his nursing school classmates. Dang says he knows of several fellow graduates who, lacking prior experience with their employers and insight about the staff and working environment, left their first nursing jobs within six months.

“In my opinion, 90 percent of the things in the job are learned not in nursing school but in the job itself,” Dang says.

This article was originally published on

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  • Photo_user_blank_big


    3 months ago


  • Nurse-jackie-showtime_max50


    over 3 years ago


    One of the best tips to keep in mind in order to survive your first year as a nursing graduate is to make a good first impression and to keep good relations with your fellow employees. I read a Drug Rehab nurse's blog and this was her opinion as well. In every field of work that deals primarily with people, you'll always need the support of your colleagues, that's why it's best to remember to be nice to the people you work with, it will pay off.

  • Deployed_dec_02_-_mar_03_083_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Oh how true most of this article is

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    todo eso es cierto

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    Let me add one more suggestions to the list. Do NOT come in to the hospital and be a know-it-all. We have had so many new grads come in and feel like they need to show the seasoned RNs how they learned to do a task. A group of new grads was so obnoxious and rude that they kind of got snubbed. I notice many of them did not stay long. And, yes, the seasoned nurses need to be kind and patient with the new grads. It needs to be a win-win situation for all.

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