A Novice Nurse is simply just that: a novice; a new comer; a rookie. This period of time at the start of every nursing career is typically one that needs extra special care and guidance. It is not surprising that the most stressful time during a nurse's career is the first 3-4 months of initial employment.
Novice Nurses need to acclimate themselves to their new work environment. Typically most rookie nurses must become accustomed to erratic scheduling, and they are simultaneously immersed in the front lines and pitfalls of the profession. Among these are dealing with patient relations, performing prep work for doctors, learning the layout and the “what goes where” of their hospital or clinic. Not to mention the actual point of their profession: assisting doctors and patients alike.
For these reasons, many medical facilities offer multi-staged orientation programs to help their nurses come into their new profession as safely and smoothly as possible.
Most nurse orientation programs vary in length and scope. Once completed, new graduates are expected to assimilate to the position relatively quickly. Preceptorship programs commonly assign a preceptor (or mentor) to a novice nurse. A preceptor and new graduate typically work side-by-side or in conjunction for a given period of time. Normally the team is kept together for the bulk of the “Novice Nurse” experience. This collaboration period more often than not coincides with the organization’s orientation program.
The most commonly reported areas of concern are: learning hospital layout, becoming familiar with the staff and their various functions, learning a new culture, considering the possibilities of promotion, advancement, and continuing education, and gaining the respect of your colleagues & peers. The transition of novice nurses into clinical practice is commonly perceived as stressful, but with the right orientation program can be an exciting and fulfilling time in your career.