10 Ways to Thrive as a New Nurse Graduate

As a new nurse graduate, you may feel like you have a lot on your shoulders. That’s why we’ve created a list of tips to put you on the path to success.

Read on for 10 ways to stay organized, motivated, and focused so you can thrive as a new nurse grad!

Career Plan & Portfolio

Without a plan, it is nearly impossible to measure your success. Spend time reflecting on the kind of career you want to have and write a plan.

Be specific about your goals and stick to them. Don’t worry, it’s common for career plans to change. Just remember to keep your plan updated along your journey to becoming an all-star nurse.

Maintaining an organized career portfolio is also important. Your portfolio should contain your education credits, certifications, career plan, resume, and any other relevant documents.

Gain Experience

As a new nurse graduate, it’s important to set yourself up for success early. Gaining clinical experience is the most important path to having the nursing career of your dreams.

Most travel nurse companies require 1-2 years of experience as a nurse in order to travel.

It is recommended that new nurses get experience in an acute care setting, and preferably on staff at a hospital. In the first few years as a nurse, try to get the bulk of your experience in one area. This will make your experience seem substantial and reliable.

Go the Extra Mile

Don’t just rely on application submissions. As a new nurse, cultivating relationships and showing initiative will improve your chances of being remembered and getting the job you want.

Get in touch with units that interest you and schedule facility tours. Make direct connections with staff and unit managers. Connect with clinicians and facilities on social media to learn about important information and events.

Finally, be prepared for interviews. Projecting confidence and knowledge with ease is a priceless asset when searching for your dream job.

Check out our list of great interview tips for travel nurses.

Big vs. Small Facilities

Both large and small facilities offer unique benefits and experiences for new nurse graduates.

Large facilities are great for training in one area. They have large staffs, are process-oriented, and provide the support you’ll need to receive thorough training. But it is typically more difficult to be hired at a large facility if you are a new nurse.

Small facilities provide great opportunities for training across various specialties. Their staffs are smaller, and their nurses are required to be more adaptable. While it may be easier to land a job in these facilities, patient ratios and acuity can vary widely in small hospitals.

Be Willing to Float

“Floating” means moving from one unit to another. Sometimes, facility staffing issues require nurses who are permanently assigned to a specific unit to float to another unit.

Versatility is an essential quality of a great travel nurse. As a nurse grad, stay open to floating – it will make you more “marketable” as a travel nurse, opening doors to more jobs in more locations.

Since travel nurses are often utilized to solve staffing shortages, a travel nurse that is willing to float is seen as an important resource. Floating will provide you with invaluable experience, make you adaptable, and give you a better understanding of your clinical environment.

Get Certified

Earning additional nursing certifications will dramatically increase your standing in the job market as well as your earning potential. They’ll also provide you with the knowledge and experience it takes to provide excellent care for your patients.

Important certifications include Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN), Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN), Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN), Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) Certification, and many more.

Find a list of common nursing certifications here.

Get Your Compact License

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to obtain a multistate license and practice in any state that is part of the compact without obtaining additional licenses. As a new nurse, getting a compact license will dramatically increase your job opportunities.

Most travel nurse companies require at least one year of bedside experience to become a travel nurse, but you can prepare for your travel nursing career ahead of time by earning a compact license while you gain the necessary experience.

To learn all the details about the nurse licensing process in your state, visit our Nurse Licensing Index.

See a list of compact states here.

Find a Mentor

Find an experienced nurse that is willing to take you under their wing and help you succeed. Developing a relationship with someone who is patient and willing to answer your questions will be a great resource as you learn the ropes.

Even if you can’t connect with a single individual, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doing your job well is more important than anything else.

Keep Moving Forward

As with any profession, there is always room to learn and grow as a nurse.

If you want to land the nursing job of your dreams, stay informed on the latest research and information relevant to your goals.

Expand your professional network, research additional training and certifications, and cultivate the qualities of a nurse leader.

Take a Career Consultation or Talk to Our CNO

If you are feeling unsure about your career plan, you can learn more about your professional needs and strengths by taking GIFTED’s Career Consultation. It’s a quick and easy survey designed to provide you with career opportunities that meet your professional needs and desires.

Or, contact our Chief Nursing Officer directly!

GIFTED’s expert Nurse Leadership Team is available around the clock to answer questions and offer you guidance at the start of your incredible journey as a heroic nurse.

Nurses & Healthcare Professionals Thrive at GIFTED Healthcare

From travel to per diem contracts, GIFTED Healthcare provides clinicians with exceptional career opportunities at premier healthcare facilities across the nation.

Apply now and join the GIFTED Family!

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