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Tips for your first day as a nurse

Whether you’ve recently started a nursing job at a healthcare agency, are thinking about it, or are already an experienced nurse or healthcare assistant looking to brush up on the basics, we’ve put together some tips to get you off on the right foot.

Come prepared

Regardless of whether you start working in a nursing home, hospital or any other healthcare facility, it’s always important to arrive ready to hit the ground running. Make sure you have your uniform, ID card, time sheets and any other essentials for your work day, and if in doubt, contact your recruitment consultant! That’s what they are there for, to help you as best they can.

Show up 15 minutes early

This may sound obvious, but it shows the facility your willingness to learn and work with your nursing or healthcare team. As an agency nurse or healthcare assistant, you are entitled to a full and detailed handoff when you arrive at a new nursing home, ward or service, including being shown the layout of the facility and informed of any special procedures they may have. Arriving early gives you the opportunity to get a detailed overview of what is expected of you, be shown around the facility and hopefully meet some members of your new team!

Ask lots of questions

Be sure to ask as many questions as you can. The ward or residential staff may assume that the things you do every day are common knowledge or they may think certain things are obvious when in fact they are not. They will not be aware of what you know or don’t know and may take, so be sure to ask as many questions as possible. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Remember the basics

Sometimes, in your job as an agency nurse or health care assistant, the best you can do is the basics. While senior staff sift through mountains of paperwork or computer systems and regular nurses deal with specific or niche patient needs, the little things can often get left out.

Clients don’t expect you to know everything or handle something you’ve never done before, but it’s more appreciated when you can make life easier for busy staff. Things like helping residents in their daily care, asking patients about themselves and making sure they feel respected and dignified will be more appreciated by staff, clients, patients and their families.

Constant communication

Always communicate to your consultant how you feel about any work situation. Often, as an agency worker, you are expected to fit in like a duck to water in a facility, or some permanent employees may seem unhelpful. However, there is no need to worry, you can always communicate any comments you have to your hiring consultant, and the best thing about agency work is that you don’t have to come back if you don’t like the work at a particular facility.

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