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Five Things to Know as a First Year of Nurse

5 Things to Know as a First Year Nurse

5 Things to Know as a First Year Nurse

After you’re done with classes, you’ve avoided a cram session by using Picmonic study aids, and the NCLEX® has been passed and celebrated, you can walk into your new job as a nurse with confidence. Now you’re a first year nurse! That’s the plan, right?

We like to think so.

If you’re reading this but still in school and just waiting to finish your nursing degree, we understand that hitting the books can be tedious… but we also know that landing a great job on the floor requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and a great nursing visual study aid! That’s why we created Picmonic for Nursing. Picmonic’s nursing review mnemonics has different pathways that help you to study smarter while keeping you engaged so have amazing memory retention and you can pass the ATI, HESI or the NCLEX without passing out from anxiety.

Once you get your glowing test results and hit the floor, though, many nurses find the job takes more than just remembering rationales. As a first year nurse, it can be intimidating and may take some time to ease into, but know that you’re far from alone. Many nurses have come before you to stand where you’re standing right now, but not all of them had the advice we have for you (or the help of Picmonic’s nursing review mnemonics).

Ever hear the phrase, I wish I knew then what I know now? Well, we went into the future (kind of) and snagged that info for you. We spoke to a third-year nurse, Emily Snyder, about five things to know as a first-year nurse. Here’s what she had to say:

Great Expectations

“A lot more is expected of you,” Nurse Snyder says. You’ll quickly find out the exit exams and the NCLEX doesn’t actually prepare you for life on the floor. Snyder explains that while you may have studied your books, breezed through Picmonic’s Nursing Pathways (our ready-made visual study aids), and trained to be a nurse, on the floor you end up playing more roles than Eddie Murphy in a Nutty Professor movie. “Working as a nurse,” Snyder says, “means you’re actually a social worker, an advocate for your patients, a secretary for the doctor…a little bit of everything.”

She admits, in her first few months as a nurse, even she was questioning whether or not she was cut out for the job. “It’s a lot to handle initially,” she says. “It can be overwhelming, but give it six months until you begin to feel confident. It’s not really spelled out for you in nursing school or in any of the questions you answer on the NCLEX, but people expect you to do so much more than you may think.”

Learn to Say No

“There’s a reason why you have nursing assistants,” Snyder says. When Snyder began to feel overwhelmed at work, she found a way to counter it: she learned when to say no. “You’re going to be asked to split yourself in a million directions,” she says, but notes that trying to do too much can take its toll and lead to early burnout. Snyder recommends asking for managers to delegate your work. Learning to say no means that you can do a better job on your immediate tasks instead of rushing around, which can cause unwanted mistakes.

Ask for Help

Newer nurses may be more hesitant to say they need help, but they shouldn’t be. Asking for help can save time and stress in the long-run. “More experienced nurses always ask for help,” Snyder explains, “There’s no reason why you shouldn’t, too.” She admits in her first year, she was scared to ask for help, but soon realized there’s absolutely no reason to be afraid. Your coworkers are usually happy to give you a hand.

Know the Specifics

When in training, get to know your hospital details. “Sometimes specific training is needed to perform certain tasks,” Snyder says. “Check with your preceptor to see what skills you’re signed off to do. There may be specific teams to perform tasks just to keep things consistent.” Knowing your boundaries can make your job a little easier.

Confidence Comes with Experience as a First Year Nurse

Yes, you’re confident after the using Picmonic’s visual study aids to prep and practice for exams, get a top score on boards, but nursing takes humility and a willingness to be taught. With the medical field changing all the time, you’ll find that “cocky nurses get in trouble,” Snyder explains. So don’t take it personally if someone tries to teach you a new way to do something or a new procedure. “Even experienced nurses will have to be trained in new things,” says Snyder, “and if you’re resistant to learning, you won’t get very far.”

Bonus: Advice to a Future Nurse

Knowing what Nurse Snyder knows now, she has advice for current nursing students: Don’t cram for tests! Keep your study schedule less hectic by using Picmonic’s visual study aids to help you retain information 331% longer, AKA make you a total superstar as you begin training. Picmonic allows you to choose a Pathway related to the topics you’re currently studying and learn a few Picmonics every day so you can learn more in less time. Plus, each “Picmonic” features a quiz at the end to test your knowledge.

Bonus #2: Advice to a First Year Nursing Student

“I wish I knew about that when I was in school!” Nurse Snyder says. Luckily, you know about it! You can get a free trial of Picmonic for Nursing right now and use your smarts in the future when you’re working your first year on the floor.

Special thanks to Nurse Emily Snyder for speaking to us about what she wishes she knew her first year on the floor. Currently, Snyder works at Banner Health in Phoenix, Arizona and is loving her job.


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