Real world advice for nursing graduates

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7 Self-Care Tips You Should Try

These five tips can help you transition from student to professional

You’ve passed the NCLEX, and now you’re ready to begin your nursing career. Your emotions likely run the gamut from cautious optimism to sheer terror.

You need to find a job, get to know a new team and, most important, take care of patients. Some of you already have a support system in place, which is great. For those who don’t, nurse.org has some tips to make your transition from student to professional easier.

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Build your network early

Those classmates and professors you connected with in nursing school can be vital sources of information when you join the workforce. Be sure to get phone numbers and email addresses before parting ways. “Remember, there’s no shame in asking for help — and as long as you ask, there’s probably someone who would jump at the chance to help you. We’ve all been there before,” the website wrote.

Nurse.org also recommends setting up a LinkedIn profile as soon as possible.

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Get your first job

Not everyone’s first job is their dream job, so don’t be disappointed if you begin your career somewhere different from what you envisioned. You are going to learn a lot no matter what unit you end up with.

“If you don’t know what to specialize in, the float pool is a great place to start,” nurse.org wrote, “and you’ll have a chance to feel out many different specialties. Do you know that you want to specialize in ICU? Then apply for ICU jobs — yes, new grads do get hired in specialties.”

Go easy on yourself

Working in a clinic or hospital is very different from being in a classroom, and you are bound to make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. Don’t be too hard on yourself. “Be patient with yourself and your mistakes. Treat yourself as a friend, and don’t put yourself down when you’re not as proficient as someone with 10 years of experience,” the website wrote.

Take self-care days

“Nurses are trained to provide compassionate care for patients, yet we’re not trained in the compassion of caring for ourselves,” Pam Ressler, MS, RN, HNB-BC, and founder of StressResources.com, recently told nurse.com.

Nurse.org recommends treating yourself to an evening out, a massage or a new outfit. “Get those feel-good endorphins pumping,” it wrote.

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Do something that makes your feel powerful

If being new at work makes you feel inadequate, nurse.org recommends reconnecting with a hobby you’re good at, like skating, basketball, painting, gardening or dancing. Plus, studies have shown creative hobbies can help lessen anxiety and stress.

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