Advice From 2019 Alumni to the Unforgettable Class of 2020

Advice From 2019 Alumni to the Unforgettable Class of 2020

2020 was designated by the World Health Organization as the year of the nurse and the midwife, and the challenges of this year have certainly demonstrated the need for nurses.

In this historic year, over 250 graduates of Johns Hopkins’ MSN (Entry Into Nursing) program are launching their nursing career. To help prepare graduates for the transition from student to registered nurse, the Career Lab hosted alumni from the 2019 cohorts to share advice.

The alumni panelists were:

  • Sarah Bouchard, Critical Care, Cook Children’s
  • Justine Cortez, Medical-Surgical, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
  • Shweta Gohil, Pediatric Oncology, New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital
  • Lindsey Rae Jackson, Infectious Disease, Albany Medical Center
  • Adam Morrow, Emergency Department, Swedish Medical Center (CO)
  • Katie Spearman, Infant and Toddler Medical-Surgical, Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

Here are some of the tips shared by the panelists:

  • During interviews (including virtual ones) look for cues about how the staff interact with another, and how you feel after speaking with them. Do you get a sense that they are supportive and willing to teach a new nurse? Trust your gut.
  • Consider asking to speak with a current nurse, especially someone who has been there for a few years. Get their perspective on a unit’s strengths and opportunities to improve.
  • Johns Hopkins graduates are very prepared clinically and in skills like assessment, critical thinking, and communication.
  • There may be hard days and times you feel like you don’t know anything. You do know a lot. Yet, there is a normal learning curve and new patient scenarios as your career progresses.
  • Advocate for areas in which you may need more education, during orientation and beyond. Be proactive in pursuing your own ongoing learning. Ask questions and seek feedback, as this helps make you a safe nurse.
  • It is important to know your resources and who you can ask for help. Seek out a mentor- your manager may be able to help facilitate such a connection.
  • It is perfectly okay for your immediate goal to be a good nurse, work hard, and practice self-care.
  • As you become more confident in a role, talk to your manager about interest in any deeper contribution, such as joining committees and research projects, or precepting nursing students.
  • You are your own harshest critic and as you strive to be the best, also be patient with yourself, and give yourself grace and time to reflect. It will be okay!

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Brought to you by the Career Lab

The Career Lab fosters exploration and learning related to professional development. To access helpful resources, register for career events, schedule career coaching appointments, and view job postings, please visit Handshake. You can also email [email protected].

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