The first day of anything can be nerve-racking and exciting simultaneously. Whether it’s the first day at a new school, a lifestyle change, or the start of a job you’ve been waiting for—the first day jitters always find a way to pop up. It is crucial to bring your A-game from day one in travel nursing, and many other professions, to make a good first impression and to ensure that your nerves don’t get in the way of providing great care to your patients.
It’s common to feel nervous on the first day, but there are strategies you can navigate. If you get a case of the jitters on your first day, here are a few tips to send them on their way.
1. Organize And Prepare
The day before you go in for your shift, set out your uniform, fill up your equipment bag, and double-check to ensure that you have everything you need, so you won’t be in a rush. Pack your lunch and make sure you have the necessary paperwork, including your ID, certifications, and licenses. Also, keep a small notebook handy to jot down important instructions or questions when they arise.
Although it may be a little challenging, try to get an adequate amount of sleep before your big day. In the morning, eat a nutritious breakfast before heading to your facility. Sufficient rest and a nourishing meal will help prepare you for your day and cut down any lingering nervousness.
2. Alter Your Perspective
Like test anxiety, the first day jitters starts with your mindset. You can’t always control a situation, but you can control your reaction to the situation and how you handle it. On top of organizing and preparing, educate yourself about the facility as much as possible and listen closely during orientation to take notes. This is an important step because the more you know, the more comfortable you will be and the easier it will be to adjust to the new role.
3. Positive Attitude
As a newbie, it is important to keep any critiques to yourself and build a rapport in the first few weeks. To knock off the first day jitters, remember to keep smiling. Show your new coworkers that you are open to change and want to gain their trust. Your fellow RN’s are the ones to brief you on everything from patients to supervisors and even help you remember where you parked your car. Staying positive, in general, will help you seamlessly fit into the workflow and attract others to come your way.
Be attentive to the different personalities and management styles throughout your facility as well. Respecting administrative attitudes will help you sync with the medical team in no time!
4. Ask Questions
Ask questions about anything new, different, or confusing to reduce your anxiety and ensure that you have the necessary information. Fully comprehending tasks prepares you to do them well. Many facilities are travel-nurse friendly and will offer you the help and support you need, so don’t be afraid to ask! If you need a procedure re-explained or demonstrated a second (or third) time, don’t hesitate to speak up and feel free to request clarification.
5. Believe In Yourself
Regardless of what your nerves tell you, remember that you are a trained professional and have faith in yourself. You may be new to the facility, but you are trained and skilled in the field, so keep your head held high. Even if things appear a bit confusing in the beginning, you were hired for a reason.
Before you start your day, consider reciting a few affirmations:
- This facility chose me for a reason.
- I am highly regarded for my knowledge and skill.
- I adapt well to change.
Having a case of the jitters is natural, but don’t let your nerves overwhelm you on your first day at a new travel nurse assignment. Remember that you are there to help your fellow nurses and healthcare professionals. You got this!