Do you ever wonder how some nurses blend in so easily when they begin working on a new floor, while others have more trouble adapting? For many, beginning a new nursing job is much like the first day of school in a new town. Unless you’re moving units or floors in the same hospital, chances are you don’t know anyone there, and it can be an awkward feeling.
Believe it or not, the group dynamics aren’t as different now as they were back in nursing school – they’re just on a different level. If you’re about to start a new job and are worried about fitting in, here are some tips for a smooth transition:
■Observe and listen before offering opinions. Nurses who come in and, from the start say, “we did it differently where I used to work,” will see their new colleagues begin to wonder why you ever left.
■Try to learn your new colleagues’ names as quickly as you can. It can go a long way.
■Keep a positive attitude. Regardless of why you’re there – if it’s a forced move or a voluntary one – you all have to work together. Keeping positive will show through and help smooth the way.
■Ask questions – it’s always better to ask a question if you’re not sure than for you to go ahead and find out you weren’t doing it right, making more work for someone else.
■Take the initiative. If you feel like you should be doing something or can be doing something, take that first step.
■Act confident, even if you don’t feel that way. Often, nurses who do know what they’re doing are also very unsure of themselves and give off a feeling of they are not as competent as they are. Don’t underestimate your abilities to be a team member.
■Work as a team member. Offer to give a hand when possible, especially if a nurse is doing something that you’re not familiar with. The best way to learn and observe is by participating in nursing teamwork, even in small way.
These tips won’t guarantee a seamless transition into your new workplace, but they’re a good place to start. Attitude is everything, so if you can start off on the right foot, hopefully it will all work out for the best!