what to know about graduating with a nursing degree SLCHC

Graduating with a degree in nursing is a major accomplishment. It proves you’re a skilled, dedicated and compassionate individual ready to land your first nursing job and make a difference in the lives of many patients.

However, obtaining a degree doesn’t mean you’re done learning. While a comprehensive nursing program combining both theory and hands-on practice can help prepare you for your future career, it provides only a glimpse of insight into your everyday responsibilities as a nurse.

As a new graduate, transitioning into your first job as a nurse can be overwhelming. But don’t be discouraged – there are several steps you can take to make the transition smoother and ensure success in your new role.

Build a Solid Support Network

If you’re a new nurse, having a support network is crucial to being successful in your new role. Nursing is a demanding profession that requires not only technical skills but also emotional intelligence and empathy. A support network consisting of former classmates, professors and mentors can provide a safe space to share concerns, seek advice and process the emotional toll that caring for patients can take.

From a more practical perspective, a support network can offer resources and guidance on navigating the healthcare system, managing patient care and handling workplace challenges.

Give Yourself Grace

Transitioning from college to a career you were trained for is rarely smooth, especially if it involves nursing sick patients back to health. Remember that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable in your new environment and to not know everything right away.

It takes time and experience to develop the skills and knowledge needed to excel in your nursing career. Give yourself grace, be patient with yourself and learn from your mistakes. Surround yourself with supportive colleagues and mentors who can guide and encourage you throughout your journey as a nurse.

One technique you can use (and perhaps have already been using) to learn new concepts as a nurse is the watch, do and teach method. This approach involves observing someone else perform a task or procedure, doing the task or procedure yourself with the help and supervision of a more experienced nurse, and then teaching someone else how to do it. This method reinforces your learning and also helps to build your confidence and competence as a nurse.

Your First Job Doesn’t Have to Be Your Forever Job

One of the major advantages of becoming a nurse is the job security and diversity that comes with it. Regardless of how bad the economy might get, patients, doctors and medical facilities will always need and rely on nurses.

This allows you to explore different career options to find your niche in the nursing profession. Nursing is a vast field with a wide range of career paths, including emergency nursing, critical care, pediatric nursing, oncology nursing and many others. Exploring different career options can help you determine which area you are most passionate about and where you can thrive.

So, if your first nursing job isn’t exactly what you’ve envisioned, that’s okay. As long as you’re gaining valuable experience and becoming confident in your nursing skills, you can use this time to explore different career options and find your true passion in the field.

Take Care of Yourself

Although emotionally and financially rewarding, working as a nurse can quickly lead to burnout With additional stressors like the COVID-19 pandemic and nursing shortage, you may find yourself working long hours with little downtime and struggling to find a healthy work-life balance.

That’s why it’s essential to prioritize self-care regardless of where you are in your nursing career. Taking breaks throughout the day, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep and engaging in physical activity can help prevent burnout and maintain your overall health and well-being.

Don’t hesitate to seek support from colleagues, friends or a therapist who can help you manage the emotional toll that comes with working in healthcare. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish, but rather necessary to provide the best care possible for your patients.

Are You Ready to Take the First Step Toward Becoming a Nurse?

At St. Louis College of Health Careers, we know becoming a nurse is an equally thrilling and challenging task. If you’re considering a career in nursing but you’re not sure if it’s the right fit for you, consider enrolling in our fully accredited Practical Nursing Diploma program.

This comprehensive four-semester long program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) and begin your career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN).

Our experienced faculty members will guide you through a curriculum that combines classroom instruction, hands-on lab experience and clinical rotations in a variety of healthcare settings.

To enroll or learn more about our programs, call our St. Louis campus at 866-529-2070.

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