Some thoughts on reflection for the transition to newly qualified nurse – Charlie Middleton, Lecturer in Nursing, University of Dundee
In a recent editorial in the JAN, I wrote about low morale in nursing students. The final weeks before graduation can be a time of excitement, but sometimes experiences in practice and academic pressures can hamper enthusiasm. Reflection forms a key part of NMC revalidation and is associated with improvements in nurse resilience and well-being. So in the last few weeks of final assessments and sign off placements, it can be helpful to take some time to think about your future.
The beauty of nursing lies in its diversity; often areas that interest us initially aren’t where we find ourselves. Clinical experiences shape us, and continue to pique our interest throughout our careers. At this time it can be useful to reflect on your personal strengths to consider how these fit with the opportunities available. Some of you will be planning to relocate or even emigrate, while others will prefer a position that fits with your current lifestyle. Either way, self-awareness and reflection on the right fit for you will be important. Take the time to research the organisational culture of potential employers; this can help identify the support structures (i.e. preceptorship) available for NQNs. In addition to the skills and experience you can bring to a role, it is important also to think about how the organisation can support you and your professional development both now and in the future.
The last few weeks of a nursing programme can be challenging, but remember how far you have come. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can be proud of your achievements to date. I wish you a long and successful career.