Agency nursing is an exciting way to keep you on your toes as a nurse. You get the flexibility of working in different settings with different colleagues that lead to a variety of new experiences and learning opportunities. Making the transition to agency nursing can be daunting at times, but that goes for any new role. By using a few of our tips, you can feel more confident in overcoming the nervousness of your first day!
1. Invest in comfortable footwear
When you’re working in a busy hospital, it’s more than likely that you’ll be on your feet for quite a large portion of the day. It’s understanded that when your feet are comfortable, you can generally feel more comfortable. When choosing footwear, it is important that they are:
- Supportive of your feet (not loose-fitting but not too tight either)
- Breathable (lightweight, breathable materials prevent your feet from infections and over-heating)
- Easy to clean (contaminants and spillages are inevitable, so you need material that will make your shoes easier to clean)
- Protective (preferably closed shoes, as open-toed shoes cannot protect your feet against falling objects)
- Slip-resistant (when there is a busy ward or an emergency, rushing can lead to injuries if your shoes are slippery)
2. Prepare before your first shift
Regardless of the environment in which you’ll be working (hospital, nursing home, or any other healthcare facility), preparedness is significant to feeling more confident and giving yourself the best chance of success. Ensure that the following are done the night before your first shift:
- Ensure that your uniform is washed, ironed, and hung up
- You’ve packed your ID badge and other relevant paperwork
- Check your shift location and how long it will take you to get there
- Prepare your lunch
- Check with your recruiter if there are any additional things you need to prepare for
3. Arrive 15 minutes early
Arriving early won’t just make a good first impression, but it will also give you a good chance to read any handovers that you need to be aware of. This includes vitally important information such as any particular medication requirements, scheduled procedures, and making notes about everything that you need to remember.
4. Ask for an induction
If you haven’t worked at the particular facility in the recent past, it is imperative that you ask for an induction. This is another good reason to arrive early, because the person giving you an induction might need to leave immediately after their shift ends, and others might have an emergency to deal with. An induction is important so that you can learn about the layout of the unit, policies and procedures that you need to be aware of, as well as the location of equipment and medicine.
5. Be prepared to ask questions and make notes
Everyone has been in your position. Nobody starts their first day knowing absolutely everything, so you should ask as many questions as possible. Take a few minutes the night before your first shift and prepare a notebook with questions you might need to ask (leave some space after each question to be able to write your answers the next day). Ask questions like:
- What are the log-in details for accessing software?
- How do I document client data?
- Where is the medication stored?
- Where are the keys stored for the cabinet or storage drawers?
- Where are the supplies stored?
- Are there any supplies that I am expected to keep with me throughout the shift to use in an emergency?
- What do I need to do in the event of an emergency? Who do I call in an emergency and where are the emergency exits?
- How can I easily navigate the unit?
- Are any of my patients in different wards?
If it’s your first time as an Agency Nurse, don’t worry about adjusting too quickly. Some can settle in faster than others, and this also depends on how much information you’re given before the shift and during your induction. Try to use every opportunity to ask as many questions as possible so that you can become more familiar with the information that you need to do your job well.
At Greenstaff Medical, our experienced compliance consultants will support and guide you to ensure that your registration is seamless, as our consultants are working strenuously to place you for work once your registration is completed. We also offer these benefits, amongst many others:
- Onboarding officer to ensure rapid starts
- Placement officer for all international nurses
- Housing and Travel Department (24/7 support)
- Paid license & certifications
- Dedicated recruiters (24/7 support)
- Team of Healthcare Professionals available 24/7