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Questions to Ask Before You Start Your New Nursing Job

New nurses, welcome to your new job! It might be a little overwhelming, but don’t worry—we’ve been there. We’ve put together this list of questions to ask your manager or HR department during orientation so you know what kind of support and resources will be available when you start working.

1. What kind of support am I going to have during orientation?

  • The first thing you should ask during your interview is, “What kind of support am I going to have during orientation?”
  • A good mentor can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful nursing career. A good mentor will help you learn the ropes and make sure you’re on track with all of your required training modules and assignments, which allows you to focus more on patient care.
  • Here are some tips for finding the right person:
  • Look for someone who is senior enough in their role that they have time to meet with new nurses but isn’t so far up in their career that they don’t want to spend extra time mentoring those starting out. You want someone who wants to help others succeed!
  • Someone who has experience working in other departments, like pediatrics or emergency medicine, might be able to provide valuable insight into how another division works—and what challenges it might present. Think about where your strengths and interests lie; if there’s something specific about a departmental culture or type of work (lots of procedures being performed) that interests you most, find someone who has experience there!

2. Who will be my preceptor for orientation?

Who will be my preceptor for orientation?

The preceptor is the person who will be your mentor and answer any questions you have about the hospital and nursing. Your preceptor should not only be a nurse with experience in the field you are entering, but also someone who has an established relationship with the hospital. They should be approachable and knowledgeable about how things work at this facility.

3. How long does orientation last?

Orientation lasts anywhere from a few days to a month, depending on the hospital and the nurse. Some hospitals have mandatory orientation that lasts longer than others. During this time, you’ll learn about everything from patient care to how to use equipment in the hospital.

4. Is there a day off in the middle of orientation?

Your preceptor is an important part of your orientation. You should take advantage of this opportunity to talk to him or her about your day off. Generally, most orientation programs include at least one day off in the middle of the week. This is a great time for you to do things like visit friends and family members who are local, go grocery shopping (if you will have time), attend religious services, go swimming or other fun activities that you’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

When you ask your preceptor if there is a day off in the middle of orientation, be sure to let him or her know what days would work best for you.

5. Will I be able to take my breaks and lunches on a normal schedule?

If you have a flexible schedule, you may be able to take your breaks and lunches on a normal schedule. However, if your break and lunch schedules are irregular or unpredictable, it may be difficult to follow that pattern. If you can’t get your manager’s approval in advance for an extended break or lunch period, request permission when you arrive at work so that he or she can approve it as soon as possible.

6. Will there be other nurses on every shift for me to call if I need help?

This is a question that can save you from feeling overwhelmed, or even worse. If you’re unprepared for a situation, it could be dangerous for both you and the patient. You may not know what to do when something goes wrong. You might feel like you’re drowning with no one there to help you along the way.

It’s important to make sure that there will be other nurses around who can help if needed; not only in the event of an emergency, but also if they are unfamiliar with how things are done at this particular hospital and floor (or even discipline).

7. Will I be getting any BLS training or participating in any other courses during orientation?

If you’re going to work in a hospital, then chances are you’ll be required to obtain your BLS certification. You might also need it if you work at a rehab center or nursing home. The point is: if you want to work as a nurse, then you need proof that you can administer CPR and use an AED (automated external defibrillator).

If your new employer isn’t offering any training during orientation, ask them about the possibility of getting some instruction before starting your job. Ideally, this should happen before the official start date of your employment—but even if it doesn’t happen until after that time frame has passed, having received some form of BLS training will help ease any fears related to being able to do what’s expected of you on the job without proper training first.

8. Will I be given any additional CEU’s from this hospital?

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) are a way to get continuing education and keep your license current. You can get them through online courses, or by attending conferences and workshops. If you aren’t sure about how many CEU’s you need, call your local nursing board, who will be able to give you an estimate based on where you live, what type of license you have, and how long it has been since your last renewal.

9. Will there be other nurses on every shift that are familiar with this hospital and the floor I’ll be working on?

One of the most useful things you can do when you start a new job is to get to know the people around you. You will likely spend more time with your coworkers than anyone else, so it’s important to feel comfortable and at ease around them.

If there are other nurses on every shift who have worked in this hospital or on this floor before, they will be able to answer any questions that arise during your first couple weeks on duty. They’ll also be able to give advice about what not to do (in terms of patient care issues) or tips for handling certain situations in an efficient manner. If there isn’t a mentor available right away, don’t worry: just ask some colleagues if they have time after work one day and see if they’re willing to share their experiences!

10. What have other new grads found challenging about their first few weeks here, and how did they tackle it?

This is a question that many nurses find themselves asking. It’s important to know what you’re getting into, and what the best way is to tackle things.

In addition, it’s a great way for you to get ideas of how they like their work environment and what they do in their free time. This information can be useful when deciding how much time (and money) you want to invest in your job search or interview process with this particular company.

New nursing jobs can be intimidating, but these questions can help you prepare

There are many things that you should prepare for before you begin working at a new nursing job. Below, we discuss some of the most important things to prepare for.

  • What is my role in this department?

It’s important to know what your role will be in the department so that you can meet its expectations and goals. You should also try to get an idea about how much work there is and how much responsibility you’ll have on the job.

  • How does the schedule work?

Knowing what kind of schedule you’ll have will help ensure that you’re prepared for any changes or unexpected situations that may occur while at work. If possible, ask if it’s possible to switch shifts with someone else (preferably someone who has experience) so they can train with them instead of having no mentor at all

Hopefully, we’ve been able to alleviate some of that anxiety by providing you with some tips and tricks on how to prepare for your new nursing job. When it comes down to it, there are many exciting opportunities ahead of you! Just remember the tips we listed above: ask questions, be prepared for anything, be confident in your abilities, and most importantly—embrace every opportunity that comes your way.


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