Hints to help new grads prosper in the transition to work
Here are some of the most common questions new graduates have, answered by the Association’s professional team:
Is it normal to feel really overwhelmed and a little apprehensive?
Remember this is a journey of transitioning from what was, to what is. It will be like an obstacle course: overwhelming. You can have high expectations and feel that you should be functioning more like an experienced nurse, but remember you can be your own worst critic, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Poor workplace culture – what do I do?
It is important to stay true to yourself and your professional practice. Making sure you follow the professional standards guidelines and frameworks that govern your practice. Make sure you form good habits early as they will stay with you always. You will see practice that might not be appropriate and one of the best ways to address this is to ask for a rational explanation.
Do you have tips for time management?
First look at the shift-orientated tasks you have to complete: medications, observations, documentation and so on. These need to take priority; the rest are nursing-orientated tasks that can be handed over if needed. It is also vital to ask for help and delegate early if you are struggling.
What about medications?
It is going to take time to do your medication rounds – this is normal and makes you safe. If sharing a medication trolley a good tip is to use it last. This will reduce pressure to rush and decrease the risk of errors. It is going to take time to get the hang of it. Be nice to yourself.
What do I do when i am asked to do things I haven’t done before?
Your experience and level of knowledge will be influenced by the clinical placements you have had. So it is important to let people know what experience you have had and that it is ok to say I am a new grad, I have not been exposed to this, do you mind showing me as I am happy to have a go, I just need to be shown.
How do I cope with shift work?
This is one of the hardest things to get used to. You need to listen to your body and make time for yourself as this next year is going to be pretty intense. Ensure you don’t say yes to too much overtime as you will become fatigued and this is when errors happen. Be aware of the toll the initial transition can take on your personal energy and time.
What should I do if I am being bullied?
You need to raise the concern with your educator as well as the manager. If you are not confident doing this, find a senior staff member who might be an advocate for your concerns, or you can ring and ask for advice from the Association.
The primary task of a new grad is to develop skills you are not expected to have. That’s why we call it a transition. It takes time and experience to become a proficient practitioner within a dynamic and intense workplace. So go easy on the self-criticism – it takes a long time to become an expert.