Rachael Harding is a recent nursing school graduate, who exudes energy and positivity. You can hear it in her voice in our full conversation on myRNpodcast. Subscribe and listen on your favorite streaming service.
During my interview with Rachael, we talked about how she balanced full-time work and nursing school for the past four years. “It was really hard to balance school, work and relationships, but now it was totally worth it,” she says. Sounds like she put all that energy and focus to work! Since graduating, Rachael has continued her education by enrolling in an online BSN program. I asked her several questions relating to her new career as a registered nurse.
Her focus and determination are evident.
Rachael became interested in nursing through a personal experience with her grandpa. “In high school my grandpa was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I watched how the nurses played such a vital role in caring for him during surgery, hospital stays and eventually hospice.” Rachael continued, “I want to help people, care for people. And so far that is true, I get to help patients from beginning to end. “
New Grad Orientation?
After graduating, Rachael started her career on the Medical Surgical Floor. She had a three-month orientation. “I was paired with two different nurses and we shared patients. Orientation is a flood of things to learn, but in general, I felt ready after the three-month time frame. You have to learn where equipment is, how to communicate with physicians, and become efficient with documentation.” Rachael laughs and says, “I asked a lot of questions!”
Rachael says she felt prepared for her first professional job after nursing school. “Yes,” Rachael explained, “but I don’t think I paid enough attention to the clinical labs. If I could go back I would focus more on the clinical learning and not so much the book-focus.”
Suggestions for Choosing Your First Nurse Job?
I asked Rachael what suggestions she would give to new nursing grad. She emphasized, “make sure you are listening and learning from your patients in your clinical experiences. Take the time to learn hands-on skills from your nurse mentors.”
Any advice for choosing your first RN job?
1. Rachael says she chose her current medical surgical job because she saw the hospital had more options.
2. Rachael reflected that she really picked the institution on her coworkers. “I asked myself, with whom did I want to work with? I really was impressed with how this (her current medical surgical) floor took the time to teach me and in general worked as a team.”
3. I asked Rachael about her pay expectations. “I really didn’t know what I should expect to earn.” My current position is union which dictates salary based on experience, shift and work environment.” She now knows that new graduates in her area can expect to make approximately “mid $20/hour to upper $20/hour depending on shift, experience and environment.”
4. Check out all the options! You have so many opportunities. Rachael reported she has friends in Dr. Offices, Surgery and in Telehealth. Find out what works best for you. If you don’t like it or it is not a fit you can always change. Nursing is full of needs!
Suggestions for New Grad Nurses?
1. Take time for yourself! Take time for yourself! You need to do self-care! Go out to dinner with friends, get your nails done or go to a movie. Make sure you are relaxing and taking care of yourself.
2. Be patient with yourself. Rachael estimated that it took her at least six months before she felt comfortable and efficient as an RN on the medical surgical floor. “I remember it took six months. to get the charting, supplies, communication lines all mastered. “
3. Seek feedback yourself. Rachael said she received sufficient feedback during her three-month orientation. However, since then she had hoped to receive more feedback. “I think the nurse managers are just so busy and don’t have time. I wish they would just check in once every 2 weeks or so. The feedback would be helpful.”
Sounds like a theme, doesn’t it?
Rachael mentioned that a full-time caseload varies on experience and staffing availability. “New graduates start with three and then slowly increase to four patients. Now, after about a year, my usual caseload is four. I may start the night with five, but as soon as someone discharges, I stay with a caseload of four.”
What about future goals?
I asked Rachael what goals she had for the next couple of years. “Interesting that you ask,” Rachael responded, “because next week I am going to be cross-trained in the ObGyn floor!” She continued, I have always had an interest in Obstetrics and wanted to see if I liked it.” Rachael summarized by saying, “the opportunities are almost limitless right now!” Since our interview, Rachael reports that her training is going well.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts a bright future for nurses – a 15% growth through 2026. The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis in July 2017 reported that California, Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina and Alaska display the greatest need through 2030. Nursing offers many areas of specialty; there is no reason to get bored with your career. Nurses can specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, obstetrics, oncology, or surgical specialties. You can also have a variety of work hours. Three 12-hour shifts are standard, but there are also 8-hour shifts optional in hospital and physician office settings. Part-time and full-time options are also available!
It’s a good time to be a new grad or experienced nurse. You are in high demand! If you are curious what myRN Staffing Solutions can do for you, reach out to our recruiters. We can help you find your next job – there’s no obligation to you.