For healthcare jobs, the going looks good: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth until 2029, as the profession adds roughly 2.4 million new jobs to serve an aging U.S. population.
But new nurses today are entering a brave alternative world: Medicine is rapidly developing, and COVID-19 has provided unprecedented challenges to hospital systems worldwide over the past year.
Today’s complex healthcare systems need nurses who can navigate various demands, gain leadership skills, understand legal and ethical issues, and have a solid commitment to addressing disparities across diverse populations.
How new nurses thrive in the caregiving culture
New nurses have challenges unlike those of their more-seasoned cohorts. As they begin their careers, they will need to:
- Be prepared to dive into the deep end of the pool. New nurses are rarely ready to care for complex patients with multiple co-morbidities and often feel overwhelmed. Experts agree that nurses do not achieve initial competency until their second or third year. However, a new nurse who has only been on the job for six months receives the same patient load as one with much more experience.
- Exercise critical thinking to connect the dots. New nurses must move from the latent knowledge they accrued to applied knowledge. This move requires pattern recognition. And that takes time, experience, and more than six months.
- Look beyond immediate tasks. Working nurses need to see the big picture. And while new nurses are naturally task-oriented, it’s wise to avoid being too absorbed to receive or discern important further incoming information. Most healthcare facilities realize new nurses can’t multi-task while mastering an initial task. They must instead engage in what’s known as cognitive stacking as they navigate new environments. Management should shelter new nurses from the constant bombardment that staff nurses experience.
- Notice the nuances. New nurses can find it hard to recognize subtle patient changes that may signal an impending deterioration or change in condition. It’s best to know the signs to look for in the patient population they serve—from post-operative patients to patients in nursing homes and healthcare centers.
New nurses have their own set of challenges. But we are so lucky to have them and want them to thrive.
ShiftMed recruits, hires, and onboards nursing staff to cover open shifts in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, rehab centers, and other locations. Whether you are new to the nursing practice or have been around for many years, ShiftMed wants you to work for us. We offer excellent benefits and pay. Apply today!