Starting a shift at a new nursing home can be quite daunting for London nurses, regardless of you nursing experience levels. There is always a transition period that comes with changing to a different nursing home, during which you’ll need to quickly find your feet and get used to new routines and protocols. We are here to help and make your first shift at a new nursing home as ‘stress free’ as possible, so we’ve put together some great tips to make the process easier!

Establish Yourself

It’s important to prove yourself immediately as a valuable nurse and member of the team. So many agency nurses slide in like a shadow and no one knows they are even there…..until they see a gap on the MAR chart and then it’s very easy to blame the unseen one!

No one can expect you to know the ins and outs of how your nursing home works, but things like arriving on time, introducing yourself to staff, residents and relatives is just basic practice. Also be enthusiastic and show that you are competent and confident.

Be Effective

Don’t be a know it all – be a learn it all. Showing that you’re ready to learn will make it easier for the other nurses to trust in your abilities. It will also give you an opportunity to talk to more members of the care team and gel with them. It’s important that you listen to everything and try to take it all on board.

Ask the right questions about the residents, the immediate priorities (who is ill / on antibiotics / critically timed medicines for Parkinson’s or controlled drugs – pain relief). Also establish at handover who will give you more info, if you need it.

Take Charge

Just because it’s your first time at the nursing home, this doesn’t mean you can’t show confidence and ask important questions. Remember that you are an essential part of the team and that your input is important.

  • Get to work quickly by taking charge of the team.
  • Ask them who is doing what as soon as the handover is finished and who is on 1st / 2nd
  • If this hasn’t been set up already ask for suggestions or allocate staff to each ‘side’ or room numbers.
  • Tell the team to report any changes to you immediately.

Be Professional

Don’t criticise the home or compare it to another, as a London agency nurse you will see many homes, all operating in very different ways. “They didn’t do it this way at ….” or “What do you mean we can’t use the residents coffee machine…”
And look the part. Hair up before you go on duty, of course a clean and ironed uniform, agency name badge etc.

Find Your Bearings

Make sure that you have all of the information you need regarding your new workplace and its location. It can help to write down the address and telephone number of the nursing home, this is essential if you have to call in an emergency to 999 or call an out of hours GP.

Keep Records

Caring for other people is a big responsibility and a large part of that is being able to identify issues or problems. Record all resident notes on line or on paper as the company policy requires, fully detailing the interventions and care you delivered for each.

  • If there was any sort of incident, record it and hand it over.
  • Get witness statements for all untoward incidents like bruises, falls, choking or aggressive behaviour.
  • Call the GP and report ANY change in resident. He can decide if he attends or not.
  • Record that and tell the Next of Kin of any changes, plus record that too.
  • At the end of your shifts sign off the entries of all your carers, including daily notes, turns, fluid charts etc.
  • Then if possible, get a peer review of your MAR charts for the shift and you can in turn offer to check theirs to ensure there are no gaps.

Stay Positive

Lastly, always keep a smile on your face. Like any job, nursing can come with its challenges and it may tire you out on some days. Staying positive can help a lot. Not only will it keep you happy and motivated but it will inspire your fellow nurses to feel the same and help create a more enjoyable working environment.

Go Nurse is The Stress Free Nursing Agency for London nurses. Is it time you made a change? Register online today for nursing shifts across London.