Pittsburgh Black Nurses in Action

Summer 2016 Blog is here!!! New RN Grads: Leap into your new RN role!

Posted over 3 years ago by Quentin Smith

Summer 2016 Special Edition Blog:

New RN Grads: Leap into your new RN role!

You've now graduated and landed your first job or second, if you happen to fall into that category, and you want to know how to put your best foot forward. With various helpful articles floating around the Internet, the list below provides an honest and sincere perspective on the best tips from someone who was in your seat not too long ago. The advice provided will help allay some of your anxiety, and provide you with some helpful tools for a successful transition into your new job.

Quentin R. Smith, BSN, RN, CCRN, Guest PBNIA Blogger

1. Seek Out and Maximize Your Mentor:

First and foremost, seek out mentors and more mentors. I believe in having as many mentors as possible is one of the best strategy for success in life. These mentors will allow you to learn from their successes and failures. The advice of quality-experienced nurses can go a long way in helping to catapult your career and refine your passion.

2. **Supplement Your Orientation**:

During your orientation period it is important to seize on any learning opportunity that your new job may offer. This may consist of starting out by asking yourself, what I call, "the why rationale" question; coming in on your "off days"; inquiring about other patient's treatment plans and interventions from your shift colleagues; preparing clinical questions the night before; and following up with readings relative to your patient at home following your shift or on your day off; investing in a professional nursing/medicine reference books.

"Off Days": This may sound ludicrous, however its important keep in mind that you only get back the effort and time you put in. In many cases, your orientation includes in-class didactic days, which can eat into your clinical experience days. So, it's important to have the conversation with your manager about additional clinical days.
The Why Rationale: Asking yourself why you are performing an intervention. Followed by how this intervention may play a role in the convalescence of your patient's condition.

3. Invest in Your Clinical Education:

Investing in Professional nursing/medicine reference books: These books will provide as your guide to gain in depth knowledge on managing specific conditions. Amazon is a good place to start your search.

4. Avoid The Drama:

Stay away from conflicts and cliques, which often are divisive and distract from the overall nurse goals.

5. Develop and Practice Self-Awareness:

You are in a profession of compassion, where mental and physical stamina are equally significant. Becoming aware of your triggers and limitations, will help keep internally informed when its time to decompress and recharge. This will protect you from burnout and compassion fatigue.

6. Be a Teammate:

I like to say be a teammate rather than just a team player, because as a teammate you get to know your teammates on a deeper level. This will strengthen the bond. This can be very useful in times of need, allowing your teammate to know when you may need an extra hand, when you can provide an extra hand.

7. Prioritize...prioritize...prioritize!

Prioritize every nursing task and/or role. From the moment you are handed your patient assignment, prioritize acuity, assessments, or medication administration.

8. Treat people in high and low places with equality and dignity:

Befriend facility staff of departments as they all play some integral role in maintaining the functions of the facility.

9. Keep an Open Mind:

It's about the journey not the destination. Remember why you entered this profession and recognized the powerful and vital role you play as a nurse. Your role is what you make of it. This will guide your confidence and appreciation for the opportunity afforded to you in improving healthcare and elevating the profession to the next level. So, before you enter work decide what type of nurse you want to be.


Quentin R. Smith, BSN, RN, CCRN

An intensive care unit nurse at a Level 1 Trauma Center in Pittsburgh, PA with approximately 3 years of clinical experience, with preceptorship experience of new RN hires and student nurses. Quentin is currently enrolled as a nurse graduate student in the specialty of nurse anesthesia at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to academic pursuits, Quentin has a special interest in self-motivation and mindfulness, with 10 years of mentorship experience at various levels.


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