So you’re ready to start your journey as a grad nurse or midwife?

First of all, congratulations – you’ve chosen a career that is super challenging, rewarding and of course, important for our community.

It can be overwhelming starting any new job, so we’ve pulled together our top tips from current grads and nurses to help guide you on your way.

Ask lots of questions

As the saying goes ‘no question is a stupid question’ and as a grad, you’re expected to ask lots of questions, so don’t feel like you should hold back. You get out what you put in and the more questions you ask the surgeons and registrars, the more you’ll learn and be engaged.

Make the most of supernumerary to ask questions, find equipment cupboards, work out who is who and get familiar with the staff.

Time management is key

Arrive to your shift early to give yourself a chance to settle and prepare yourself before your shift begins.

During your shift, prioritisation is important - you could write yourself a list from most to least important tasks and allocate a block of time for each. Keep in mind that unexpected tasks will come up, so allow yourself time for this too.


Remember to take time for you. You could practice mindfulness, write things down, exercise, find a hobby outside of the grad program, or just get some well-earned rest. Look for a way to calm your mind that works best for you.

“Your first month of a graduate year is hectic. You’re learning new things, attempting to time manage, asking questions, learning new terminologies and abbreviations and navigating late/ early starts. I remember sitting on the couch after week three, so exhausted. It does eventually become routine but make sure you get rest before starting and in between shifts.”

Invest in some good shoes

You’re going to be on your feet a lot, so finding the right pair of shoes is important. Do some research to find the best fit for your foot – or speak to a podiatrist if you have specific requirements.

Reflect on each day

Whether it be on your own, with another grad, with a family member or friend, take the time to debrief at the end of the day.

“There’s something to learn and grow from each day, whether that be a positive or negative experience.”

Ask for support if you need it

Everyone needs extra support from time to time, not just grads!

If you’re worried about something or need help, know that you can, and should always ask for support. Nursing is a team job and it’s about working together to get things done. If you’re falling behind or just need a hand getting on top of things, don’t be scared to ask for help.

“You should know your boundaries what you can and what you cannot do especially as an enrolled nurse.”

Use social media – but remember to THINK before you post

At Epworth we encourage our team members to use social media to share their experiences and celebrate their team, however there are a few guidelines to stick to.

Before you post something on social media, review the organisation’s social media policy and ask yourself if your post is:

T – Tasteful

H – Human

I – Insightful

N – Necessary

K – Kind

It’s also vital that you don’t post confidential or patient information on social media, particularly where it de-identifies the patient. Double check there’s nothing that shouldn’t be visible in the background of any photos before posting.

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

“It’s not always going to be easy, but “nothing worthwhile in life is ever easy and nothing easy is ever worthwhile.”
“I feel this quote every day since I started as a graduate nurse.”

And remember, you’re not alone. There’s a handful of other grads on your ward, de-stress with them, debrief with them, because they know how you feel.

You can find out more about the Epworth graduate nurse and midwife programs here.

02 June 2020

Author Epworth

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