Tips for an Easy Transition on a New Unit

graphic_nurse-pills-chart-miscWhether it is your first job as a nurse or you are a seasoned one, starting a new job requires patience, humility, and openness. You are walking into a well established, well oiled machine or so it seems. While there remains room for improvement in every unit, how you offer your thoughts and suggestions will determine how you are initially received. There is a delicate balance between proving your worth and coming across as a know it all. Here are just a few suggestions to help you smoothly acclimate to your new unit.


Every unit has a specific way of doing things. Hopefully your preceptor will be well informed and can clearly explain the daily routines. Take it all in. Soak it up. Make judgments later. Try not to compare to how they did it at your old job.


You may be a seasoned nurse, but there is always something new to learn. As long as you remain open to new ideas, there is room for growth in your own practice. You might find a new technique that is much simpler than one you have been using.


Be a humble observer. Observe the dynamic of your new unit without any initial judgement. Easier said than done, but with time you’ll find that you feel better acclimated and less critical.


Speak up if you have a good suggestion for your new unit. Share what you know, but stay humble. Your expertise, eyes, and ears will be welcomed. You have plenty to offer your new unit.

Jump In  

Jump in to every single experience you can with a new found enthusiasm. You want to show your manager and coworkers you are both a team player and not afraid to learn something new. With that being said, be careful not to get taken advantage of.


If something is completely foreign to you or you are starting in a new area of nursing, ask when you don’t understand. Ask for clarification if the information is not sinking in. Your introduction to your unit is the time to ask and establish yourself as a curious nurse. A curious nurse is a vocal nurse.

Be Patient

Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself a little learning curve. Be patient with your new place of work. What may seem completely foreign at first will soon sink in as normal. Be patient with your coworkers. Some may seem standoffish or even aloof at first, but with time most come around.

For some of us, change is challenging and starting a new job can be the height of any challenge. With time and patience, you will settle in nicely. Have a great first day and best of luck!!

Lori is a travel nurse that has made her way to Sweden. She is also a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher. Follow her adventures working and traveling through Europe in her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.

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