Marking the Milestones in Your Nursing Career

October 9th, 2014 by

milestones in nursingA milestone, according to Merriam Webster, is “an important point in the progress or development of something.” Here, we’ll explore some milestones that occur early in one’s nursing career.

First Nursing Job Interview

After you finish nursing school and obtain a license to practice as a registered nurse, you will begin your search for a facility with resources to support a new graduate and positions open to entry-level nurses. Once you are asked to  interview, consider the following basic advice:

  • Do some research about the facility’s mission statement and anticipate some possible interview question
  • Be prepared to answer the top interview question, “Tell me about yourself,” with a 30-45 second response that includes your credentials and certifications and examples of skills and abilities. Conclude with a combination of the reason that you want to work for the facility and the reason that you want to be a nurse
  • Locate the facility and parking prior to the interview and take into account traffic in timing your arrival
  • Dress appropriately

First Nursing Job

After a successful interview, you managed to find a medical facility with resources to aid you in transitioning from entry-level nurse to experienced nurse. Familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of your particular facility. And just as you educate patients to engage in healthful behaviors and habits, practice healthy habits yourself. Get rest, nutritious meals, and take measures to relieve stress as nursing can be a challenging job. And one of the greatest challenges is responding to the death of a patient.

First Patient Death

Some patients will not recover from illness or injury, and coping with the death of a patient can be difficult. Take some time to mourn then continue with patient care.

  • Give each patient your undivided attention and focus on his/her specific needs while at the bedside
  • Keep busy performing your nursing tasks and duties
  • Focus on how to deal with your personal grief at a later, more appropriate time and utilize your co-workers for emotional support

Your nursing interventions unfortunately won’t always be successful, but you must cope with this unpleasant first experience as well as others such as the first medication error that you document.

First Medication Error

Medication errors may occur despite your best efforts. The fault may or may not be yours; the pharmacist may have provided the correct dosage of the prescribed medication but may have provided the medication in the wrong form: an example is providing the medication in a form that requires inhalation when the prescription calls for the drug to be administered orally. Although medications are distributed via a system, if you administered the medication, then you are responsible for the administration.

In dealing with a medication error, immediately inform your supervisor of the error and document the incident as required. At the conclusion of the episode, you will likely be upset at your fallibility. In facing such an event recall that “To err is and will remain human and if we want to reduce the incidence of faults we must be able to learn from our mistakes” (Giard, 2002).

Your nursing career will have a series of firsts, some pleasant and others unpleasant. Take appropriate measures to deal with the more challenging areas of your nursing career. Nursing has many rewards, and remembering your initial interview and the reasons for wanting to work at the facility should help you through difficult times and guide you to a long, successful career.

Works Cited

Giard, R. (2002). Medication Errors, Inevitable but Prevantable. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2014, April 24). Nursing shortage. Retrieved September 7, 2014, from AACN :

Gray, B. B. (2014, July 17). Health Day. Retrieved September 7, 2014, from U.S. News and World Report:

About the Author:

Marian Henderson

Marian Henderson is currently a Graduate RN. She has volunteered at a long-term care facility and received 196 clinical hours of RN training; in addition she has a technical diploma in Health Information Technology from the American Business and Technology University. She loves sharing helpful information and tips for new nurses.

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