Friends, here on episode 62 of The Nurse Keith Show, we discuss what to do when
you’ve been hired for a nursing job!
If you’re excited about a new job, what do you think you should do? In our job search process, we can get so focused on finding a job that, once we have one, we lose sight of what we should do to maximize the potential of our new position!
Getting hired is exciting, right? And once you’re hired, you want to put your best foot forward, make a good impression, and take full advantage of every new opportunity that your new employer and position offer. Here are some ideas:
Get to know the workplace culture: As you begin working at your new position, assess the workplace culture. Are people open and friendly? Do colleagues have lunch or otherwise hang out together? Does someone on the unit or in the office coordinate birthdays, social events, etc? What is communication like? How are conflicts handled? What is the give and take between staff, management, and the executive suite? Are meetings informal or stiff? Are there cliques that seem impenetrable? What strong personalities or interpersonal dynamics are making themselves known to you?
Learn about the organization: Every organization has a history, and some have written mission statements, value statements, and other documents. Is there a flow chart delineating the structure of the organization and lines of communication? Also, check out their website, and be sure to peruse all of your new employer’s social media feeds; follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc, and be sure to check out their corporate LinkedIn page. Are there articles to read about the organization? Is anyone working on staff a published author, blogger, or podcaster? In fact, if there’s a company podcast, subscribe and listen regularly.
Understand the norms: Norms to quickly understand are dress code, punctuality, the timing of breaks and meals, and some of the behavioral and organizational factors mentioned above under culture.
Where is everything? Learn where things are kept; from office supplies to 2 x 2’s, you need to know where they are. If necessary, use your smart phone to take photos of things and places you want to remember.
Learn names and positions: Being the new kid on the block can be challenging, but you need to learn everyone’s names and what they do. In hospitals and other healthcare facilities, name tags are a big help, but if you work in home care, hospice, or a school, you may not be so lucky. Be honest if you forget someone’s name; come up with pnemonic devices for people who are difficult to remember; use your smart phone to make a list of coworkers and characteristics that will help you recall their names. Go out of your way to not only learn the names of fellow clinicians; meet maintenance and housekeeping staff, food service staff, and others who keep the engines of the building or company running. Find allies wherever you can.
Find your allies: You need allies at work; you need a tribe. If you work in a large hospital, your unit will likely be where most of your allies come from, but you may want to also cultivate allies in x-ray, pharmacy, ultrasound, the cafeteria, and elsewhere. In a small home health agency, you may have only a dozen or so colleagues, but you likely won’t be friends with everyone. In a small workplace, you need to be on good terms of with everyone since you work so closely, but you’ll find the people with whom you want to be most closely aligned.
Get involved: Getting involved is a great way to get to know people, make a name for yourself, and learn more about the organization as quickly as you can. Joining committees, volunteering for special projects, and other activities are ways to show initiative and become part of the fabric of the culture and organization.
Ask questions: Asking questions should be expected of a new hire; don’t pretend to understand or know something that makes no sense or that you’ve never heard before. Be willing to show your ignorance and ask for clarification. If something is being done in a way that you may not agree with, rather than be critical, show authentic curiosity and ask why it’s done that particular way.
Listen: You have to listen; you just do. When you meet a new coworker, focus as you shake their hand, look them in the eye, and repeat their name; if you’re distracted, ask the to repeat their name again as you look them in the eye and say, “Nice to meet you, ___________.” Listen, listen, and listen some more. Be a sponge.
Network: A new job is a networking opportunity; make the most of the new connections you can garner in a new unit, facility, agency, or company. Connect with colleagues on LinkedIn, learn what other people excel at and what they enjoy. Be friendly, useful, helpful, and thoughtful.
Know when it’s time to go: Every position must come to an end, even if you’ve been happy. Knowing when to go is as important as knowing how to become an engaged and active member of the team. As Michelle Shocked once sang, “the secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go.”
This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is sponsored by the good folks at American Sentinel University. As a fully accredited online university, American Sentinel offers a variety of courses related to healthcare and nursing, including RN to BSN, and five MSN programs: Informatics, Case Management, Nursing Education, Nursing Management, and Infection Prevention and Control. They offer an RN to BSN/MSN, a program, as well as two tracks for those wishing to pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. American Sentinel also offers a certificate in Prevention and Control that assists clinicians in acquiring the knowledge they need to develop best practices for infection prevention and control. Please visit NurseKeithEducation.com for more information.
The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The PodcastingGuy.com; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.