You’ve graduated from an LPN training program and successfully passed the NCLEX-PN examination. With newfound confidence, you nail the job interview and are preparing to start your very first LPN job as a Licensed Practical Nurse. While this moment is worth celebrating, make sure that you don’t skip the most important part: preparing for your first day.
While your training and practical clinical experience will provide you with almost everything you need to know to get the job done, if you’re like most new LPNs, your first few days on the job are substantially different than anticipated. Even if you excelled during your clinical practical training and in theoretical coursework, being on the floor in real-life situations can feel as if you’ve jumped into a world where you know absolutely nothing.
This is why preparing for your first few days of LPN work is just as important, if not more important, than any amount of preparation you undertook for school or your licensing examination. While specific steps vary based upon where you work, as well as your working knowledge of the clinical processes, the following tips can help transform a hectic and anxiety-driven day into a beautiful opportunity to propel your career faster than you ever imagined.
First LPN Job Orientation
New employee orientation can feel like a whirlwind of information. From learning clinic-specific processes, to verifying the communication flow, it’s not uncommon for new LPNs to completely forget almost everything covered during this rushed, yet formal, event. While you may not be able to capture every detail discussed, take your notepad (which you should always have on hand) and jot down important notes and questions you may have.
While you should never be afraid to ask for clarification from your mentor, or from other employees, taking notes can prevent having to ask excessive questions. This often shows a level of professionalism that is greatly appreciated by lead nursing staff, especially if this is your first LPN job.
Maximize Your Mentor-ship Opportunities
Throughout your first several days, or weeks, at a new clinic, you’ll likely be assigned a mentor. During this time, try and maximize your learning opportunities. Along with taking copious amounts of notes, spend as much time asking questions and gaining clarification. Even if you feel you already understand a specific process, asking questions clarifies details and reduces the likelihood of making silly mistakes in the future.
If, for any reason, you aren’t getting along with your mentor, don’t feel embarrassed to ask for reassignment. In most cases, this is a celebrated action as it shows you respect not only your time and the time of your assigned mentor, but also that you’re serious about this career.
Observe, Question and Perform
As you continue to work within your new position, make it a point to actively observe all activities. Learning through observation is an excellent quality, and as a healthcare professional, your power of observation should be among your strongest qualities. Never assume anything. Always ask questions, even if you think you know the answer. Only after you’ve mastered the art of observation and questioning can you then move into the most important element of your career: performing.