Six quick tips for new graduate Nurses

A while back I spoke at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing NED (Nursing Education Department) Talks. One of the most frequently asked questions were for a few short and simple tips for New Grad Nurses.

Here are the top six pieces of advice that I gave the Johns Hopkins nursing students:


Your first job may not be your dream job. It might actually be, well, the opposite of a dream! But strive to take what you can from an unpleasant situation, build upon it and come out as an even better nurse.


Don’t be afraid to volunteer or work as an aide. If you can, work in the hospital as a volunteer or an aide while you’re finishing your program. This will help you smoothly transition into your profession as a nurse and will also help you gain invaluable patient care experience, and also establish good connections within the hospital.


It’s okay to NOT have all the answers. You don’t need to have a specialty narrowed down right away. You have the rest of your career to find your niche. The best thing you can do NOW is volunteer wherever you can, shadow in various departments and use your fellow nurses as resources. Seriously, they’re there to help!


Life isn’t always fair. Neither is nursing. Don’t expect everything to be fair just because you are in a respected profession. Life isn’t fair. Prepare yourself now to hit some bumps in your road and to encounter some bad apples along the way. Remember, it’s how you handle your worst times that determines who you truly are.


Never stop learning. Knowledge is power. If you want to make positive change for our profession, then consider pursuing a higher education and getting involved in the decision-making process. We as nurses have the power to create change!


Mistakes happen. If you make one, it’s important to own up to it, learn from it and move on with your head held high.

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