I have heard so much over the past week that these are trying times, or difficult times, or hard times, or unprecedented times and people aren’t wrong they most definitely are. The emergence of the Covid-19 virus means that as nurses we are facing, and will face, challenges we have never faced before. One of the first challenges we have is the redeployment of nurses to the most needed places, meaning that many of us will be faced with working in unfamiliar places, with unfamiliar people and systems, and whilst much can be said around this topic and Covid-19 I have decided to write this blog to share some expertise I have:
It’s no secret that I have worked as a bank and an agency nurse for quite a number of years now, in fact this is the primary reason I set up WeNurses – to connect with other nurses as agency nursing can be quite isolating – my Twitter handle says it all @AgencyNurse!! As an agency nurse I have faced redeployment of sorts every working day, being sent to different places with different people and different systems is something I have had to adapt to. Often as an agency nurse you are sent to places with staffing shortages or other difficulties and you need to be able to think on your feet and be incredibly adaptable. But all of this is incredibly achievable and as nurses we have the core knowledge and skills to be able to do this. So it is with this in mind that I thought I may be able to share some of the things that have helped me to ‘fit in’ to unfamiliar nursing teams and places over the years…
- Ask someone to give you a quick tour
- Ask for a good handover and take lots of notes, include timings in these notes eg when meds or obs are due
- Plan your day as much as you can, I use my mobile phone (be that controversial or not) to set alarms
- Get someone to show you where the toilet is …. believe me the last thing you need it when you are desperate for a wee to have to find someone to ask first!
- Have a few key phrases ready “Please tell me what you would like me to do, I don’t mind” “Feel free to boss me about as I am still unsure with things” “I am not really confident about doing that but I would happily do something for you if you could do that instead” “I am free what would you like me to do” “I may be a bit slow whilst I get used to this, thanks for bearing with me”
- A smile goes a long way, smile and be friendly
- Remember to be compassionate towards your new colleagues – i know this is a hard one to do especially when you are the new nurse on the block but asking a fellow nurse if they have had a break yet, or making them a cuppa goes a long day
- Don’t give yourself a hard time, you will feel a bit lost but this is normal
- Remember you bring a different perspective and your own set of expertise and this will be valuable
- Make a friend, this can be a fellow nurse, a HCA , student or anyone really but coming back the next day becomes so much easier if you have a friendly face to look forward to seeing
- Speak up – if you cant do something, or you are overwhelmed, or you are worried about anything at all tell someone, if they don’t listen / help tell someone else and keep going until you get the support you need
- Reach out online – there are lots of us who will all be in the same situation, share what you are doing, reach out for support and support others
- Be yourself – you are amazing, you are a nurse, you’ve go this
It’s also worth bearing in mind that it you are a nurse who have redeployed nurses coming into your team that there is one huge thing that will make a difference to every nurse that comes to support you ….. smile and let them know that you are happy to have them there.
These may be trying times but my hope now is that when we look back at these times we will also see them as times when we came together, when we supported one another, when we learnt new things, met new people, embraced (from a social distance) our wider nursing teams and rose to the challenge.