Developing confidence as a nurse might not be easy for some. But if you follow these five steps, you’ll be well on your way!
Master Nursing Concepts
Mastering nursing concepts starts in nursing school. You need to focus, learn and really understand the basic nursing concepts. Every time you evaluate a patient’s condition and make a plan to implement interventions, it is based on your understanding and implementation of the basic nursing principles. Be certain to ask questions when you are unsure and be patient with yourself. Sometimes it can be frustrating when an instructor or preceptor wants you to explain everything, but they are really making sure you understand the rationales for your actions and this is imperative as you an independent nurse.
Master Nursing Skills
Practicing nursing skills is essential and will help you gain confidence. Take advantage of the skills lab at school and at your place of employment. The more times you practice a skill, the more competent you will be when you actually need to perform the skill on a real patient. Whenever opportunities arise, volunteer to either observe, assist, or complete the task. As a nurse, you will constantly need to learn how to use new equipment and master new skills. Never hesitate to ask for assistance or to review the policy and process with a nurse educator or an experienced nurse prior to attempting a skill that you have not done recently. Working as a team or even in pairs can help enhance your comfort level.
Prepare in Advance
When possible, educate yourself in advance to decrease feeling overwhelmed or frightened. If you are starting in a new area, read as much as you can about the common diagnoses and treatments. Let your nurse educator or preceptor know early on which areas you need to focus on the most so they can prepare an appropriate plan for your orientation. Showing initiative goes a long way and will make you and your co-workers feel more confident, for it demonstrates your dedication and determination to become an excellent nurse.
Communication is essential for strong teamwork and positive patient outcomes. There is no shame in asking for assistance or admitting that you do not know something. I always tell new nurses that it is much more important to know how to obtain an answer or assistance then to know everything. I always review potential situations with them and let them figure out who they would contact, especially in the middle of the night. Knowing how to get help quickly at any time will certainly make you feel more supported and comfortable when you are faced with a difficult situation.
Enhance your Knowledge
Nurses never stop learning. As technology and medicine keeps advancing, nurses need to learn how to implement these new therapies to provide patients with the best possible outcomes. Take advantage of educational opportunities, attend conferences, read journal articles, join a nursing association, and/or complete continuing educational courses. It is also important to share your knowledge. For example, if your institution is involved in cutting edge therapies, write an article in a nursing journal. See one, do one, and then teach one. This is a great way for you to enhance your confidence and demonstrate your expertise as a nurse.