It’s no secret. We are all guilty. We often judge others based solely on first impressions. Research has shown that people decide if they like others in as little as three minutes during their first encounter. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. Here are a few tips that may help you make a good impression and make your next assignment much more enjoyable.
When you arrive on your next assignment, bring a positive attitude. Despite what information you may have gathered from our hospital reviews about the facility and staff, keep an open mind and decide for yourself. Everyone has different experiences based on personalities, personal work ethic, and different department dynamics. Positive attitudes are contagious and much more tolerable than negative attitudes.
Every place you work is going to be a completely different experience. The environment will be different, staff will treat you differently and policies and procedures will vary. If you were taught one way to do something, now is the time for trying something new. Staff nurses don’t want to hear, “We did it this way at ____.” You are at a new place, and it’s their way. There’s nothing wrong with suggesting an alternative method, but it’s all about how you approach it. It might be better to save those suggestions after your first few weeks.
If all your work is caught up, ask others if they need help. This is sometimes the best way to be “accepted” into the crowd. If they know you are a team player, you will probably get a more positive response from co-workers. But don’t let others take advantage of your willingness to help. Those people are out there and if you let them walk all over you, they won’t hesitate to oblige.
If you are asked to float to a different unit, work an extra shift, or change a shift to help someone else, try to accommodate the facility. Of course, if you are asked to float to a different unit that you are unfamiliar with, make sure you speak up and let the charge nurse know. Don’t allow yourself to be placed in a situation you’re not comfortable with. It’s your license and the patient’s best interest on the line.
Introduce yourself and shake hands when you first meet someone. When you have time, engage staff members with chit chat. Ask about the area, places to eat, and about places they would recommend you visit. By working toward building relationships with the staff, you may be led to some of the hidden gems that you won’t find on a map. It’s a win-win situation.
There is no way around it, you can expect to be nervous with each new assignment. Even the seasoned travelers experience butterflies on all of their “first days”. Each time it’s an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. Don’t let your nervousness take control. If you stick to these 5 tips, you will make a good impression and by the end of your assignment the staff will be asking you to stay permanently.
* If you have always struggled with making good first impressions, here’s an interesting read from a Wall Street Journal article. I can’t vouch for the recommendations, but the author suggests a few books on how to be a more likable person.