If you're about to start your first day on the job as a Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, congratulations are in order. You've successfully completed LPN training, passed the NCLEX-PN, submitted resumes, sat for interviews, and been hired. Just as you breathe a sigh of relief, you have to go in for your first day on the job. That first day is sure to be overwhelming, but there are things that you can do to get it through it more easily. Keep reading to learn more.
7 Tips for Getting Through Your First Day as an LPN
Whether this is your first job ever or your first job as an LPN, a major learning curve lies ahead of you. Many aspects of working as an LPN are unique. These professionals tend to work long shifts, and they're usually on their feet the entire time. Although they typically work in assisted living centers and nursing homes, they're employed at hospitals, clinics, and other facilities too. The specifics of your first LPN job may vary, but these tips should make that first day a lot easier:
- Get Organized - First and foremost, get organized. The night before your first day on the job, get all of your gear together. This might include your stethoscope, pen light, clipboard, and other tools. If you are bringing a lunch, pack it the night before to have one less thing to worry about in the morning. Get your work clothes out and have them ready to go for when you wake up. Upon arriving at your work station, make everything neat and tidy, and strive to keep it that way.
- Arrive Early - The last thing that you need is to be running late on your very first day on the job as an LPN. You might consider driving the route the week before your first day around the same time that you normally would leave. That way, you can get a feel for what traffic will be like and for how long it will take you to get there. Use a driving app to ensure that you arrive at your new job at least 15 minutes early. Remember: It's far better to arrive early and have to sit and wait in your car than it is to arrive late.
- Dress Appropriately - As an LPN, you will almost certainly have to wear scrubs while on the job. For your first day, treat yourself to a nice new set. There isn't a lot that you can do to personalize a set of scrubs, but you are going to want to keep a clear name tag on at all times. If you're going to focus on anything, make it your shoes. You'll be on your feet for hours on end, so it's crucial to have comfortable footwear. If necessary, invest in some orthopedic shoes for extra support and comfort.
- Make the Most of Orientation - Most employers offer some sort of orientation or training for new LPNs. Whether you attend an official orientation or are trained by an individual person, make the most of it. Don't be afraid to ask any questions even if they seem really obvious. Get answers to any questions that you may have not only about your job duties, but also about things like compensation, vacation days, benefits, and the like. If your employer offers any additional resources, go ahead and take advantage of them. When it comes to getting settled in on the first day as an LPN, every little bit helps.
- Lean On Your Mentor - With any luck, you will be assigned a mentor to assist you in your first days as an LPN. If you aren't given one, ask your employer if it's an option. Even if it isn't, you can always find someone on your own after working for a little while. If you have no mentor to lean on during that first day, don't be afraid to ask other LPNs or coworkers. You will get the answers that you need, and you will also get to introduce yourself to people and start getting to know them.
- Watch and Learn - While you should certainly ask as many questions as you need to during your first day as an LPN, you should also take care to simply observe. Due to nervousness, new LPNs often find themselves chatting away throughout their first day on the job. The problem with this is that it distracts you from watching how things operate around your new workplace. As much as possible, try to simply watch and learn. In particular, watch more experienced LPNs to get a feel for how they handle various duties. This is also a great way to get a feel for the culture of the workplace. Is it more formal? Is it more casual? You'll learn these things and more by simply paying attention during that crucial first day.
- Prioritize - Finally, one of the best skills that you can develop as an LPN is the ability to effectively set priorities. It will serve you well throughout your career, and it will come in handy even on your first day. Upon arriving at work, locate your manager and ask for a breakdown of your daily duties. Find out if some are more urgent than others, and organize them accordingly. By making this a daily habit, you will have a much easier time providing effective care as an LPN.
It's perfectly normal to be nervous about starting your first job as an LPN. The first day on the job will be overwhelming and chaotic simply by virtue of its newness. You can reduce the stress by keeping the above tips in mind and by remembering that before you know it, you'll know your job like the back of your hand.