25 Tips for New CNAs in Their First Year of Nursing

Are you a CNA looking for some tips to help you in your first year? If so, this blog post is for you! Nurses are the backbone of any medical team and it’s not always easy. Here are 20 tips that will make your first year as a CNA easier!

  1. Stay organized – When on a job it can be easy to fall behind in terms of organization. However this is something that you should aim for since staying organized will make your life a lot easier! It might take some time, but try your best to stay clean and organized so nothing slips through the cracks or becomes too overwhelming.
  2. Paying attention to details – One of the most important things for a nurse is being able to pay attention and notice all of those tiny little details that might seem unimportant at first glance. For example, noticing when medications from two patients look different or noticing when a patient’s IV bag is low.
  3. Staying focused on the task at hand – You might find yourself faced with multiple tasks throughout the day and it’s easy to get distracted. However try your best to stay focused on the task at hand and not let anything else pull you away from it. It can be easy to become overwhelmed when there’s a lot going on, but just do the best that you can!
  4. Being prepared – It can feel like there is always something that needs done at work, which means having everything ready before hand is important. Make sure you keep everything that might be needed (stethoscope, pens/paper, etc.) in your pockets or bag so you don’t have to worry about it later on.
  5. Being able to laugh at yourself – There are many times that things go wrong, but remember that mistakes happen and sometimes they can even lead to something comical! Laughing about the little mishaps will make your day a whole lot better.  Also don’t be too hard on yourself when you do mess up because everyone does it at some point.
  6. Having a good attitude – There are many times that nurses will get frustrated with the patients or their jobs, but make sure to always keep your cool and maintain an upbeat attitude! Having a positive outlook on things can really help put problems in perspective.  Also remember what’s most important when on the job is that you are there for your patients.
  7. Doing what’s best – No matter how hard it might be, always do what you know in your heart is right. Don’t let anyone convince you to do something that goes against anything important to you, no matter who they may be. Your integrity and moral compass should always be prioritized.
  8. Being honest and dependable – Sometimes it can seem easier just not tell the truth about something that was missing or messed up on your part. However you always want to make sure that what you say is true so as not to be misrepresented. Being honest and dependable is a great quality to have on the job because it’s important that everyone can trust you.
  9. Contributing ideas – You don’t just want to do what people tell you without giving your own input! It might be easy to fall into the trap of doing exactly as others say, but nursing is about teamwork. Make sure to contribute ideas if you think they will benefit the situation, even if it’s just something small.
  10. Being responsible – If there is one thing that this job requires it’s responsibility! No matter the situation make sure to do what needs done in order for everything else to fall into place. You don’t need to be perfect, but you should always aim for the best!
  11. Being a team player – This profession requires teamwork in order for everything to run smoothly! If everyone can work together then that’s half of the battle won. Don’t just think about yourself or what might benefit you the most, but think about what’s best for everyone. When on a job remember that we’re all working together and you want to make sure it will be as easy as possible!
  12. Being adaptable – One of the most important things for nurses to do is be able to adjust and make changes easily on their feet. This job has many factors that are out of your control, whether it be working with difficult coworkers or simply having emergencies arise! However it’s important to be able to adjust and make changes when needed.
  13. Find support – Sometimes it can be hard to find the support you need, especially if this is your first job. However there are always others who have been in similar situations that want to help! Try reaching out and connecting with other nurses who might be able to answer some of your questions or just listen when needed.
  14. Ask questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t know something. Nursing is a complicated field, but it’s important that everyone knows what they are doing in order for the patients to receive quality care! You shouldn’t have to feel embarrassed or nervous about asking any question that might come up because nurses should always want to do their best and learn more.
  15. Become a good communicator – Becoming an effective communicator is one of the most important things for anyone to do, especially when it comes to nursing. You never know who you might have to communicate with! This job requires talking and working with many people so make sure that you’re always clear in what you say whether on the phone or in person.
  16. Taking your career seriously – Don’t just treat this like any other side-job or something temporary while waiting for “something better.” Nursing is important and you should take that seriously. You want to make sure that you’re doing the best job possible and not just breezing by because it’s easy.
  17. Be patient with yourself – Like any other job there will be good days and bad days. It’s important to stay patient with yourself because it can be easy to get down on yourself if things don’t go as planned or you make a mistake. Everyone slips up every once in awhile, but that doesn’t mean your character is flawed! Just keep going and try not to let anything hold you back.
  18. Learn how to prioritize – When on a job there is always so much that needs to get done and it’s easy for everything kind of just blend together. However you should take some time each day or night to figure out what has the highest priority, especially if you’re overwhelmed with work! Prioritizing will help keep your head above water and make sure things don’t feel so hectic.
  19. Gain as much knowledge as possible – When you first start off as a nurse there is so much to learn and it can feel really overwhelming! However one of the best things that you can do is read up on what you’re interested in. Whether it’s EKGs, pharmacology, or something else entirely- make sure to gain as much knowledge as possible since this will benefit your career.
  20. Taking care of yourself – It can be easy to neglect your own needs when on a job because there is always so much work that has to get done! However taking some time for yourself each day or whenever possible is important. Taking a break and doing something you enjoy can help keep your spirits up.
  21. Developing good habits – When you’re working as a nurse it’s important to develop some good habits that will be beneficial for everyone! For example, always make sure your uniform is clean and pressed so you look nice at work. You should also try to get into the habit of going above and beyond with whatever task someone might give you.
  22. Create a good work/life balance – It can be easy to get wrapped up in the job and your responsibilities, but remember that it’s important to have a life outside of this! Taking some time for yourself each day or even each week will help keep stress levels down and make sure that things don’t become too overwhelming at work.
  23. Eating healthy – Another thing that you’ll want to aim for is eating healthy so you have more energy on the job. You might have to skip meals or eat on the go, but try your best to make healthy choices!
  24. Get enough sleep – It can be easy to push yourself too hard, but one of the most important things you should do is get enough sleep! This will help keep stress levels down and make sure that your body won’t become ill or stressed out.
  25. Don’t compare yourself – One of the biggest things about being a nurse is learning your own body and your limits. While it might be tempting to compare yourself with others, try not to fall into this trap! Doing so won’t help you learn about what’s best for you as a nurse or person.

Being a nurse can be stressful and it’s easy to let things get overwhelming. However if you follow these tips this will make your first year as a CNA much easier! And don’t forget that there are always other CNA jobs available if the one you’re at is too difficult or isn’t for you. Good luck and happy nursing!