A huge component of being successful in your new role as a nurse is your ability to be vocal. For many of you this may make you uncomfortable but no worries, as your confidence increases so will your voice. Speaking up is not only how we advocate for ourselves but also for our patients. Your voice is a powerful tool when used effectively but it is equally important to verbalize your needs, ask questions, be relatable and be direct.
VERBALIZE YOUR NEEDS
Verbalizing your needs not only helps to bring you out of your shell but it also helps others understand how to best guide and assist you in your new role. Sharing your learning style with your preceptor/ team is a great way to communicate your needs initially. Also, try reflecting at the end of each shift and jot down things (knowledge, tools, support, etc) that would’ve been helpful to know or have. Identifying and acknowledging these deficits can help empower you to share your weakness with your preceptor or charge nurse and in turn get the support you need.
Asking questions lets your preceptor or team know that you are teachable and that you’re there to learn. Even if you happen to be coming to the table with a great deal of knowledge coming across as someone who already knows everything may be frowned upon in a new role where you have no experience. While many things you’ve learned won’t translate from textbook to practice, there are some things that should definitely remain the same. If ever you’re curious about safety or ethics be sure to ask questions.
Be organized and direct when reporting patient status updates or inquiries to physicians and other team members. This can be intimidating but here’s where SBAR comes in handy to make your report clear and concise. Practice makes perfect. Pro tip: Practice verbalizing patient scenarios from the day, out loud at home so you can get comfortable reporting info and hearing yourself in an assertive tone. You should also be direct in the context of advocating for yourself when dealing with your peers and uncomfortable situations.
Interacting with your patients can be tricky but it doesn’t have to be. Look for commonalities between you two. This can be as easy as striking up a conversation about a ball team because you noticed their tumbler on the counter with their fav team on it or asking about a family member whose picture is in the room. Always lead with empathy and remember you’re there to treat a person and not a disease. However, some patients won’t be receptive to even the warmest of conversation and that’s ok too. Be mindful of cultural competence and barriers to quality care.
Finding your voice in your new role will undoubtedly take some time to adjust and get used to. Think of it as a craft that you are constantly perfecting. Some days you’ll be spot on and others not so much but each day you will gain experience and with that comes confidence. Incorporate these tips into your daily work practice and you’ll be vocal in the best ways in no time.
The Nurse Link Team
“be direct when advocating for yourself when dealing with your peers and uncomfortable situations”