You’ve been to nursing school. Most of you have passed boards. You have studied and prepared yourself for this day for years.
Finally, it is here: the first day on the floor. It is perfectly natural to be so scared that you are shaking. We’ve all been there.
However, you can take some steps to prepare yourself for your first day. They won’t necessarily make you 100 percent confident when you step onto that floor in your new scrubs, but they will give you a measure of peace the night before.
Believe it or not, you will be protected for a large part of your first few weeks on the nursing floor. Orientation programs vary, but your first day is likely one where they bring you up to speed.
Gather your materials
It may feel like you are preparing for the first day of school, but getting your materials together can help to ease the anxiety you may be feeling before the first day. Get your stethoscope and any other equipment, such as a pen light or scissors.
You can set out your clothes, too. Pick a set of scrubs that are comfortable and make you look professional. You’re going to need comfort, so it is important all of your scrubs allow for freedom of movement.
A lunch may be a good idea, too, although many nurses choose not to take lunches. Prepare one anyway because you are going to need the energy, and throw in some quick snacks while you are working in the kitchen.
Gather whatever else you may need, but don’t over pack. You probably don’t need textbooks, but a notebook will help you remember small things you learned during the day that you can review at night.
Call your mentor
Every nurse should have a mentor, but sometimes they are hard to come by. However, you can always tap nursing instructors and clinical instructors for reassurance before the big day.
You may not even meet your mentor until you begin working on the floor, so this method of preparation may be difficult. You could call nursing school friends, though, because they are likely going through the same fears that you are.
If you need to, discuss your fears with a loved one. They may not understand entirely, but everyone has started a new job at some point in their lives.
In other words, get the feelings out there to people you trust. Bottling it up inside or acting like it isn’t making you nervous will only lead to more nervous feelings.
R-E-L-A-X: That’s the key to this whole problem. You won’t be thrown to the wolves on your first day as a nurse.
Now, it will be challenging, because you have a lot to learn. You will have help, though, and that means that you won’t be able to hurt anyone.
On your first day, you may just observe or take one or two patients. You won’t be given a full assignment, and you will be attached to your preceptor at the hip.
Even if you don’t get a long orientation period, your preceptor will be there on your first day, and you can depend on them to show you the ropes. So, relax. You are not in danger on your first day, although it is a milestone you will remember for the rest of your career.