5 Tips to become a better nurse

5 Tips to become a better nurse

Congratulations! You are hired! Now, what? You have a lot on your plate, learning your new careers ins and outs. How can you be a better nurse in a hospital setting? Your first year on the job is often the most stressful because you don’t know what you don’t know. You will constantly learn throughout your career, but just when you thought you were prepared in nursing school, bam, the real world of nursing takes you by surprise. Sound familiar?

Use these tips on how to become a better nurse:


  • Continue to Learn – Continuing education is a constant reminder that our learning as nurses must never end. Most State Boards require nurses to complete continuing education hours (CEUS) to be competent in their licensure.
  • Become Certified –  A certification in your field can help you learn your specialty the best in your unit, making you the resource person. If you have a true drive for what you do, becoming certified is the step to prove it.
  • Turn off your brain at home – Always continue to learn and seek out new opportunities at work. At home, look up things you are not familiar with that you want to know more about, but be sure to take time for yourself. You need to, nurse burnout is too common.
  • Remember the good times –  You may have the drug seeking addict in room 4, the incontinent, ungrateful patient in 12, but there was someone you truly helped that day. Remember that patient. To get ahead in nursing, you have to remember the good we do for people. Were you there to hold the hand of the women diagnosed with cancer that day because the physician didn’t have the time to sit with her and grieve? Those moments will keep you ahead of the colleague who does not spend any time with her patients.
  • Find a rock – We all need a mentor, someone to vent to. After getting your feet wet on your unit, find a buddy. Someone who can relate to you. Maybe it is your preceptor, someone who had a child when you did, or maybe one of the older nurses who you remind them of when they were young. Find someone to lean on when times are tough.


You will get ahead in nursing with these tips. What other tips do you have to help get ahead in this field of nursing?

10 Survival Tips for Nurse Orientation

Have you heard of the high turnover rates for new grads? How awful would it be to go through a 12 week nurse orientation, go out on your own, and realize after all that training, that it is not for you. Quitting your first nursing job is not an ego booster. It hurts you and the department who paid you to train.

How can we change that? Hospitals across the Nation are looking at ways to revamp their nursing orientations to retain nurse, but you can help as the new nurse.

How to get the best orientation


  • Read a book –  Your orientation is not the only place you need to keep learning. Keep your nursing school book of whatever specialty you are focusing by your bed at night. Anything you came across that day that you didn’t understand, look it up. Nowadays, you can always Google it and inform yourself even more with scholarly resources.
  • Prove you know it –  Orientation is the time to perfect your skills and learn new ones. You have someone monitoring you now, so perform! Lacking at IV skills? Start every IV in the unit that day with your preceptor, and by the end, you will be the one they will call!
  • Don’t be cocky –  Simple. We all know you went through nursing school, no need to talk about how smart you are. Put it to use. Those who are book smart, are not always the best in the clinical setting. Take it in, but show you know it through your work, not through your mouth.
  • Don’t fake it –  On the other hand, if you don’t know something, ASK! Even if you already learned it once. Your preceptor knows you are taking in so much information, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • “New preceptor, please”- This is one of the hardest things to deal with. Are you and your preceptor not a good fit? You need to be the one to act. Talk to your unit director to possibly switch you to someone like you. This orientation needs to train you, don’t let your preceptor make you a bad nurse.
  • Being overwhelmed is normal. – Every nurse will tell you they were overwhelmed in the beginning of their orientation. We expect it. If we covered way too much for your brain to take in anything else that day, stop the preceptor and ask to focus on one thing.
  • You will mess up. – Believe it or not, you’re human. You will mess up, not only in orientation, but in nursing generally. Don’t be afraid, you have someone by your side at this time. Again, never feel stupid for asking questions to do something right.
  • Give feedback –  Orientation processes can always grow and change. Preceptors and Directors of your unit need feedback on what works, and what doesn’t work. Help them create the best orientation for all nurses. Afterall, they will be your colleagues after their orientation.
  • Weekly Meetings –  Make sure your weekly meetings with your preceptor and director/educator are not overlooked. You need to hear constructive criticism and be able to focus on what is working, and what is not working.
  • Be ready to work –  Come to work prepared, even if it is a little early in the shift. Find out your assignment and prepare for your day. Impress your preceptor with our excitement to work on the unit.


With these tips, you are bound to succeed through your orientation and career. Remember to acknowledge the new nurses in your unit and care for them. We know the feeling of “nurses eating their young”. Change that perception to embrace everyone who chose this caring profession.

Career Spotlight – Travel Nurse


Travel nurses are a breed of nurses that like change. They thrive on adventures and love to see where the next job will take them. What is involved with becoming a travel nurse? Is it worth the time away from home? These questions can help you answer if travel nursing is right for you.

What is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse is a nurse who travels to different hospital units to work for a limited time, usually 13 weeks. The travel nurse has the option to move around the Country if she chooses and obtains licensure in different States. Usually, travel nurses are needed in hospitals that are short staffed. Therefore, the pay is usually higher than staff nurses. There are a variety of different specialty jobs are available for travelers.

How does a nurse become a travel nurse?

To become a travel nurse, most companies want a nurse to get at least 1-2 years experience. A new graduate nurse will have a hard time in the travel industry because the orientation time is around 3 days.

Once you have experience, obtain any certifications you may need to stand out from others. For example, a labor and delivery nurse may want to obtain her certification in electrical fetal monitoring.

Who should not be a travel nurse?

Those who dislike change will not like travel nursing. Your assignments are usually more involved than the other staff nurses, and you will most likely be running short staffed. If you are not someone who likes to be away from home, traveling may not suit you.

Who is a good candidate for traveling?

Someone who likes to travel, obviously. You can see all other areas of the country and work with a variety of people. With this, you will learn various ways hospitals do things.

You can get away from the cold in the wintertime if you live in a climate that tends to get a lot of snow. Traveling is nice, too, because you normally will work three days a week, leaving you time to enjoy yourself and explore the city.

How much does a travel nurse make, on average?

Due to nurses making various wages through the Country, for travelers, usually they make more than the staff nurses in their unit, plus medical benefits, retirement, CEUs, and housing stipends! The company will take care of you. Travel nurses are one of the highest paid nurses in the field.

How do I choose a travel company?

This is a hard question to answer because it is like choosing a loaf of bread in the supermarket. It is whatever suits your specific needs. Do your research, create questions to ask and interview the company before they interview you.

Overall, if traveling is an option for you, do it now. Many nurses practice for a long time, then feel stuck in a comfort zone, unable to break away.


What is the NCLEX-RN exam?

Portrait of a smiling nurse

What is the NCLEX-RN exam?

Students exploring the option to go to nursing school should know that nursing school is not the end to being a nurse. It is your doorway to the NCLEX-RN exam. The NCLEX-RN exam is what makes you a licensed nurse.

History of the NCLEX-RN exam?

The NCLEX is the licensure exam every nurse must take to become a licensed registered nurse. It was founded in 1978 by The National Council of State Boards of Nursing. It was a pencil and paper test until 1994.

What specifically does the NCLEX-RN test?

The NCLEX-RN exam tests the nurse’s knowledge comprehensively  to guard the safety of the public. Every State has it’s own Board of Nursing. The NCSBN and Boards of Nursing work together to protect the welfare of the public with safe nurses, who have passed the exam before practicing.

The Boards of Nursing and NCSBN are constantly working together to understand the safety issues in healthcare. Together, they tackle this issue with the creation of different questions for nurses coming out of school.

Each student will have a different exam, and each student scores 50% of the questions correct, whereas the difficulty of the question is how the student passes. Each testing bank holds over 2,000 questions. For example, if you pass with 75 questions, you only get half of those right…some nurses pass with the 265 questions given.

When can a nursing student take the NCLEX-RN?

A nurse must complete an accredited nursing program before they can become eligible for the NCLEX exam. When the school sends the records to the State, then the Authorization to test will be given to the nurse by their State board, then the nurse can register for the NCLEX-RN exam. There is a specific time frame from the ATT to test time (about 60-365 days).

How should nursing students study for the NCLEX-RN exam?

Nursing schools are prepping nurses in every class they take for the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN exam questions are uniquely thought out and so are exam questions in nursing school. Review questions are available for testing as well as review courses for graduate nurses to take before their exam. Many nurses feel the exam prep helps.

How many nursing students do not pass?

For the NCLEX-RN, the national passing rate is 72.1%. Your school has to post how their passing rate is as well.

What if I don’t pass?

The testing center will retest you in 91 days from the last test date, depending on the State licensure board.

The NCLEX-RN is not an exam to roll off your shoulder. It is what makes you an OFFICIAL nurse. When you pass the exam, celebrate! It is something to be proud of!