How to Gain Respect in Your First Year of Nursing

Updated on July 15, 2021

Nursing is an amazing, challenging, and rewarding career that focuses on improving patients’ health and quality of life. The first few years can often be the hardest, though, especially if you’re surrounded by a bunch of senior nurses who know exactly what they’re doing. At times, you might feel like you are fighting for their respect despite graduating with excellent grades. 

While nursing school provides you with the knowledge you need to look after patients, there are far more lessons to be learned while on the job. To ensure you learn as much as possible during the early days while making a good impression on your co-workers, here’s how to gain respect in your first year of nursing. 

Learn as Much as You Can 

As touched upon, there is still a lot to learn once you’ve graduated from nursing school. If you want to gain the respect of those around you, it’s crucial to soak up as much knowledge as possible during your first year, whether that’s how to monitor a section of the hospital or the best way to record medical data. 

You should also consider pursuing further education while working as an RN, especially if you want to climb the ladder. By studying online BSN to FNP programs, you can progress your studies while working. By doing this, you expand your career horizons with nursing while showing your co-workers that you’re serious about becoming a great nurse. Plus, due to the online nature of the courses, your career won’t suffer. 

Show Up on Time, Every Time 

An instant way to lose the respect of your nursing superiors is by being consistently late. Having a genuine reason once or twice is acceptable, as it happens to everyone; the moment you make it a habit, though, is the moment you shred any chances of making a positive impression on your co-workers. So, to ensure you don’t ruin your future chances of progression, make showing up on time a priority. 

Listen to Your Superiors 

Understandably, you want to show off your knowledge once you’ve graduated from nursing school, but it’s more important to listen to your superiors and get it right. Those who have been a nurse for many years know what they are doing, and they won’t enjoy a young nurse thinking that they know better. Remember – they have a lot to teach you, so listen to them! Plus, if you get on their good side, they’ll probably give you some useful insider information, too. 

Take on Overtime 

More often than not, older nurses expect the younger ones to take on more overtime. After all, they’re probably already earning a much higher salary, and they’ve already put in their hours of overtime during their younger years of nursing. So, when offered overtime, take as much as is given. Of course, that doesn’t mean taking all of it; as you must remember, some nurses might also want overtime to bump up their paycheck. 

Help Out Other New Nurses 

If you want to earn respect and prove you’re worthy, do your best to help out other new nurses when they struggle. Of course, that doesn’t mean try to help when you don’t know how – only offer advice when you know how to guide them. By doing this, you’ll quickly find yourself in high regard with the other nurses, new and old alike. 

Show Up Full of Energy 

No matter how good you are at your job, your work will suffer if you show up too tired, so aim to enter work each day full of energy. That means getting enough sleep the night before, eating a nutritious diet, and getting enough exercise. You should avoid going out with your friends the night before a morning shift, too, even if no alcohol is involved, as it could mess up your sleeping schedule. 

Take Your Breaks 

You might think you’ll gain more respect by always being seen working, but in reality, you’ll earn your co-worker’s respect by looking after yourself and taking your breaks. Many new nurses’ stride into the job, believing that they can take on anything and prove their worth by avoiding breaks. If you do this, though, you will quickly crash, and the other nurses will say, “I told you so”. So, look after yourself and take the breaks offered to you.

Always Have the Right Equipment 

As a patient, you don’t expect a nurse to have to constantly run back and forth to pick up equipment, as it wastes time. To ensure you’re always prepared, keep the essentials in your presence at all times, even if that means having a notebook to hand. Whatever items your job usually requires, keep in in your pocket. 

Take Advice on Board 

You’ll likely receive lots of advice in your first few years of nursing, and it’s important to take it all on board. While not all advice will serve you well, there’ll be some that’ll greatly improve your work performance. Plus, you’ll show your co-workers that you respect their opinion, which will boost their respect for you in turn. 

Show Genuine Care for the Patients 

No matter how excellent your medical knowledge is, if you don’t show your patients genuine care, your co-workers won’t think you’re right for the job. After all, being a nurse is a stressful role, so if you don’t have the compassion to be caring in the early days, there is little chance that you’d have it later down the road. So, to practice giving excellent patient care while impressing your co-workers, make it your mission to be considerate and kind to all the patients you tend to. 

Enjoy the Journey 

Most people can work hard for a short time, but not everyone can be genuinely passionate about nursing. If you show that you are the latter, your superiors and co-workers will see you as a nurse in it for the long haul, meaning they will give you more advice and motivation. 

Earning respect as a new nurse takes work, but once you manage it, you can enjoy your nursing career alongside incredible, like-minded nurses.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.