Do you work with a new nurse who seems in need of a little inspiration?
You could be a beacon of light when things get dark for a new graduate nurse who feels like they’re stuck in a slump. Try one of these tips and watch that new nurse blossom into a nurse leader in the making.
1. Give EBP research
New nurses may not have had the opportunity yet to apply evidence-based research to real life clinical scenarios. Why do we prep IV sites the way that we do? Why do patients need to get out of bed on POD1 after a total knee replacement? How can central line infections be better prevented? Guide the new nurse to look into the scientific literature. It will give meaning to clinical tasks and bolster their knowledge and confidence.
2. Give permission to advocate professionally, but without apology
Many new nurses feel intimidated when it comes to advocating for their patients. They might feel as if they’re bothering an interdisciplinary team member or causing trouble by questioning an order. But an experienced nurse can encourage the new nurse to frame advocacy around the patient. It’s not that you, personally, want something, but that the patient requires it. A new nurse might need to hear that they have the right to speak up and “I’m sorry” doesn’t need to be included.
3. Give a little push
As new nurses gain knowledge and confidence, they may be ready for more responsibility, without recognizing it for themselves. After my first year as a new grad in the Cardiac ICU, I had a charge nurse who began asking me to do certain tasks, whether it was to give a short talk on a topic to the night staff or assist in a procedure. I wouldn’t have jumped in on my own, but she recognized my readiness and gave me the push I needed to take on more.
4. Give regular positive feedback
As a new nurse, often it seems that everything goes wrong. They might feel behind, disorganized, or unseen by staff and supervisors. Go that extra mile to tell a new nurse that you’ve noticed the work they’re doing. Pay them a compliment, report it to a supervisor or mention it in a staff meeting. Being recognized will inspire them to continue working hard.
5. Give an inspiring book
Many new nurses go through a transition phase when the idealism of becoming a nurse meets some of the harsher realities of working in healthcare. They might need a reminder that they can truly make a difference. A book like Lois Gerber’s The Human Side of Nursing is just such a reminder.