Earning Respect in Your First Nursing Job

Graduating from nursing school and getting that first job takes a lot of hard work. When you manage to do it, the last possible thing you want to do is to mess up. Unfortunately, many new nurses do just that. In the majority of such cases, the problem does not lie with poor technical skills or insufficient knowledge. Instead, it is typically attitude and personality that sinks budding new nursing careers. It is extremely easy to make a negative first impression on your new coworkers, and first impressions are everything. If you start out on the wrong foot, it can be difficult if not impossible to salvage your professional reputation. If you are ready to enter your new job on the right foot, follow these four tips:

#1 – Don’t Be a Know-It-All

Regardless of how smart you are or how many ideas you have for revolutionizing the workplace, tread lightly. Quell the urge to take charge in everything and to tell others how they could be doing things better. Even if your ideas are valid, more experienced coworkers will see you as arrogant and will dismiss your ideas, regardless of how solid they are. Be humble and willing to learn from others. If you have an idea, gently bring it up and be prepared to listen to why it may not work.

#2 – Be Grateful and Sincere

Everyone likes to hear a little “thank you” now and then. Whenever you receive help, guidance, or advice from a boss or a coworker, genuinely thank them for the consideration and for taking the trouble to help you. This will help you to be seen as a genuine, caring person who appreciates others. It can also go a long way toward building positive feelings about yourself with your peers.

#3 – Give It Your All

Odds are that you will be shocked at how many of your coworkers watch the clock and are unwilling to do one thing above and beyond what is required. Offer to take on extra responsibilities and to occasionally put in extra time when needed. You chose nursing as your career, so you should give it everything you have. Not only will your positive attitude make your job more enjoyable, it will also build your reputation at work when peers and bosses see how seriously you take your job. Who knows? Your positive, “can do” attitude may even spread to others around you.

#4 – Be a Good Listener

Too many new nurses are gung-ho to prove how much they know and try to always be the one talking. Take the time to stop and listen first. You’ll be surprised at how much you will learn. You will also avoid getting a reputation as an annoying know-it-all who thinks she knows more than her experienced coworkers. Listen actively and ask questions when you need to and you will soon develop the skills, knowledge, AND reputation you want in your new career.

Your first months on the job are your only chance to develop a good impression with others in the organization. Follow these four steps to ensure that you are seen as a professional and a colleague with whom others are happy to work.