Let’s Talk About Your First Nursing Job, Other Things and a little Dose of Motivation. 2 – 4 minutes read.

“Let’s Talk About Your First Nursing Job, Other Things and a Little Bit of Motivation,” Is a personal note to my brothers and sisters who are just leaving Nursing School. I decided to share it in bits so that it is easier for you to read and understand.


Photo credit https://unsplash.com/@pinamessina

The feeling of finishing. At last, the end of the tunnel has embraced your weary shoulders. You have just finished your Basic Nursing Studies, (either you went through the diploma route or the degree).

The horrors of assignments, projects, seminars and presentations, the labours and sleepless nights during exam periods and the many times you have to wash your uniforms or scrubs (this one is for me), have all come to a temporal end (you will surely encounter more rigours when you start climbing the ladder of professional development; higher degrees, and the higher you go the more complex things get around you, but this basic foundation that your basic nursing studies give you is very pivotal to your career.

For those who went through the degree pathway, you are required to have a one-year internship programme, which introduces you to the “Weird world of Nursing.” While for those who went through the diploma path (like I did), you don’t have to go through another season of training, the structure of the 3 year R.N programme is practical intensive, so you are little bit more conversant with the world of Nursing, which I call weird for a reason (don’t ask me why).

Working on a job is very different from working in a school. In school, you were still a student, so you had supervisors, little responsibilities, and boundaries i.e, you were not qualified to do certain things ‘unsupervised,’ but now you are out of school, and you will work with less supervision, you will have more responsibilities to shoulder and in some settings, almost no boundaries. Welcome, my fellow colleagues to the wild! Yeah, I call it wild for a reason. (don’t ask me why).
In school, you were told a whole lot of stuff about working. A lot of good stuff, and in the little lab of your mind, you had already conducted a whole lot of experiments. You also had your expectations, glorious expectations. Well, sorry to tell you, buddies, you will be very disappointed by the time you start working, and for those of my friends in Nigeria, you guys will be “triply disappointed.” Well, this article is mainly for my friends in developing economies like ours, here in Nigeria.

Now, one of the first things that will and can definitely break your heart as a young graduate is “Your salary.” Yes, back in school you thought you would come out and get a very good job, that will immediately take care of your needs, and maybe the needs of a few relatives, but alas! Your first job may be nothing to write home about, except if you are lucky enough to get a very good job, which seldom happens that way. Many who do not have sponsors to help with further studies, have to really sit down and work hard. Your first salary might want to make you shed some tears, just take it easy, it all gets better (LOL!).

So, my first tip for you, don’t dream of “Big money.” {except you came into the profession with the only desire of making money} Instead think out of the box. Think of ways of improving your self. Get a skill if possible, try and learn new areas that many have not ventured into. Take your eyes away from money, horn your nursing skills, for the private sector in Nigeria, nurses who really survive are those that have been able to adapt to their new environment. Just keep improving, preparation meeting opportunity always begets success. Cherish your exposures and your experiences. Nursing in Nigeria is not encouraging, I must tell you, but that does not mean we should also sit down, enjoying the music of the pity party.

Another thing I would love to draw your young minds to is the issue of “Practice boundaries.” In school, you were definitely taught about “Nurses procedures” And “Doctors procedure.” Well, welcome to the wild, where nobody cares if you are a nurse or doctor, especially in Nigeria’s private health sector, these policies may survive in Government institutions, but out there, they don’t hold. Employers want to know what you can do. They want to pay less for more services. So, most of the time, you will find out that you are forced to learn basic medical skills, that are useful, and very important. But may I still caution you here my friends, whenever you do anything, always be very careful, still know your boundaries. Nursing Nigeria is still very young to allow Nurses practice independently, unlike some advanced countries that have Nurse practitioners who practice unhindered, either under the supervision of an experienced Physician or independently, this gives them more autonomy, allowing safe advance medical services to reach more people.

You must learn how to save. This takes us to another dimension of your first job, how to save. You are still very young (Maybe not all of us), and one lifesaving skill you must develop is the ability to save, no matter how little it is. Get financial applications that help you save, by deducting a particular specified amount of money from your account every month or at certain intervals. Many families today have very poor saving habits, and this deficiency is the major cause of financial struggles in many young families today.

You need to start learning good saving habits right from school. It is difficult, but I tell you, it surely worth’s it.
Aside from developing good saving habits, learn investment. Yes my friends, learn how to invest. Don’t just let the money sit there, begin learning how to invest, study investment packages, for those who have not started families yet, this period of your life is one that goes a long way to determine how the first phase of raising your family will look like.

Look for a partner. Well, maybe you were not expecting me to mention this, but this is very important. Guys, look for a woman who fits you, who suites your vision. Ladies, look for a man who knows you, who knows your virtue, a man who knows how to nurture you, you don’t want to end up with just anybody as a wife or husband, that is if you want to get married (LOL!).

This period is the time you begin to start considering your friends, begin to build relationships, cut away toxic ones and stick to healthy ones.

Read! I won’t forgive my self if I left this point out. You must stick to reading. Reading is one quality that has the single ability to stand you out. Nurses don’t read! They are amongst the most occupied human beings on earth. But that should not be a deterrent for you not to cultivate a good reading habit. Read stuff outside your profession, don’t be insular. Be eager to learn something new regularly, follow your local news and politics, be abreast with trends, don’t just remain stagnant.

Be involved in politics! Friends, we are poorly represented in the political climes of our countries national politics and other levels of leadership. Jump into politics, vie for leadership positions. Don’t allow anyone tell you “You are a woman.” No! “You are going to be actively involved in politics because you are a woman.” Many of us guys in nursing (I greet you all), and some fellow ladies, sing the anthem that nursing in Nigeria is not making giant strides, because of the ratio of men to women in the profession, well, this has an atom of truth in it but is not sufficient reason.

Women are built to respond to external motivation, and the women in Nursing today in Nigeria who are making waves are women who were able to motivate themselves, they defied every external limitation and went further.

Let us all come together as one body and motivate our selves. Those who are in positions of power should look for ways of introducing young active minds into leadership, people who know what to do when power is in their hands, and the young minds, don’t wait for external motivation before you make things happen, do it!

Well, there are other things you will definitely encounter when you start working, but these points are powerful enough to guide you through.

Okay then, let me end here today, if I have something else to tell you, you will definitely hear from me. (There is still a lot I would like to write about your first job as a registered nurse but will include it in the next part).

Together we can build the Nursing of our dreams.

Yours in the school of excellence.

Ayinla Daniel, RN.
(Team Care City)


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