5 Tips for New RNs


1. Ask for Help

No matter what you decide to do — whether it be jumping into the workforce, changing your specialty area or returning to school for a higher nursing degree — never be afraid to ask for help from those who have done it before. One option is to reach out to a mentor from your time at nursing school to see what they recommend. There are also many mentors who are members of ANA-Illinois! You can contact us here for additional information!

2. Consider Getting Some Workforce Experience Before Going Back to School

Experience is important. If you are thinking about returning to school right away to obtain an advanced degree, first look into how many years experience first year APRNs have. If they typically have a few years of experience in the workforce, you may want to obtain that experience prior to enrolling in school. And while it is fairly common for someone to work as an RN for several years before becoming an APRN, it is not just important from an experience standpoint. You want to ensure that a career as an APRN is right for you — and working as an RN for a while is a good way to do so!

3. Weigh the Pros and Cons

Weighing the pros and cons is important prior to any big career move and starting your nursing career or making the decision to go back to school are not exceptions! Make sure that you look into all of the positives and negatives not only as you make a decision on whether to begin working or return to school, but also as you evaluate employers and examine schools to apply to.

4. Make Sure to Focus on Y-O-U

As is often noted, burnout is a serious issue in the nursing occupation. With this in mind, it is important to be proactive and take steps to ensure that you are not getting burnt out. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed at your job, try to take a few days off (and actually unplug) and ensure that you are communicating your needs to your supervisor. Beyond these actions, there are many additional steps that you can take to help you combat nursing burnout.

5. Choose the Path that is Right for You

No matter what you decide to do — whether it is starting a full-time job as an RN or returning to school to obtain an advanced degree — ensure that it is right for you. Do plenty of research on your potential job/school to try to see if it will make you happy and help to meet your career goals.

Confused? ANA-Illinois Can Help.

Does all of this seem confusing and overwhelming? If so, you aren’t alone. ANA-Illinois knows that being a new RN can be difficult to navigate. That’s why we’ve created the Novice Nurse Bootcamp. The Novice Nurse Boot Camp is designed to give nurses some tools and tips to take with them as they progress through the first few years of their careers. Topics covered include:

  • How do I build resilience?Accepting and giving constructive feedback
  • How do I keep from burning out? PTSD in nursing, overtime, time management
  • How can I impact policies and procedures at my place of work? Shared governance
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses: personality typing
  • How to combat compassion fatigue: a guide to self-care
  • Advocating for me: How to face adversity with co-workers, find the right mentor

Space is limited to the first 75 people who register. Don’t wait! Register today!