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From the practical to the personal, here are eight things every nurse needs to be successful at any stage in their career.

Basic Supplies

Clickable pens and a foldable clipboard that you can fit in your scrub pocket are always helpful. Pens disappear quickly, and having a supply is a must for all nurses.

In addition, a good quality stethoscope is essential. There are a variety of brands and types available, including some for nurses working in specialty areas such as pediatrics. Personal preference and what kind of patients you will care for will influence the brand you select.

Subscription to a Nursing Journal

Nursing is a lifelong journey as you continue to learn and keep up to date with changes in clinical practice to ensure that you deliver safe and current high-quality care for your patients. Consider a subscription to journals like American Journal of Nursing, Nursing Research, or online subscriptions to sites like Up-to-Date and Daily Nurse.

Nursing Association Membership

Most nurses join and become involved in a professional nursing association that usually falls within their specialty. Associations are an excellent way to network with other nurses that share your specialty, gain access to job boards, and obtain discounts for continuing education courses and event registration. In addition, they often include subscriptions to journals and other publications. Some of these are associated with nursing certifications. Becoming certified can contribute to your professional career ladder and may be required for your hospital to gain or maintain Magnet status.

Source for Continuing Education Credits

Most nurses must complete a specified amount of Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) hours to maintain and renew their nursing license. One of the most common ways to meet the goal is by attending nursing education conferences like like Sigma or ANCC Pathway to Excellence conference that have received approval to award CNE for attendance and participation. Attending nursing education conferences provides you with the latest clinical practice updates and allows you to network and meet your peers across the country. Contact your employer to inquire if they will reimburse you or offer a stipend for registration fees, travel expenses, or meals.

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Mental Health and Wellness Support Systems

Burnout rates among nurses hovered around 40% before the pandemic. Post-pandemic, the number is at 70% or more. To help protect your mental health and general wellness, make sure you have systems and support. For example, many hospitals and employers include programs to address mental health and general wellness in their benefits packages. While it can be challenging to prevent burnout entirely, especially during difficult times, you may be able to navigate the challenges more successfully when you take a proactive approach to manage health and wellness.

Health & Fitness Membership or App

If you’ve neglected your physical health while studying for the NCLEX®, now is the time to prioritize it. Regular exercise is critical for both your mental and physical health. Take advantage of your community’s yoga, dance, and other exercise classes. If that doesn’t fit your budget or schedule, download a health or fitness app to help you set goals, monitor your progress, and keep you motivated.

Meal or Grocery Delivery Service

Many nurses work 12-hour shifts, leaving little time to shop for and prepare healthy meals. Regular grocery deliveries can help you plan meals and eat healthy food. There are now many home delivery options for healthy prepared meals that can be time savers. If this is outside your budget, grocery shopping online and a pick-up service will save you time and help you avoid last-minute impulse purchases.

Frame for Your Nursing Diploma

Be proud of your accomplishments! Frame your new certificate or diploma and hang it where you can look at it often to remind yourself of the path that led you to become a professional nurse.

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A list of eight things every nurse needs wouldn’t be complete without the essential resource of all – people! Nursing school, the NCLEX, and your first job all present unique challenges. Now is the time to expand your network with new colleagues, neighbors, and friends while staying connected to the support system you already have. Staying connected to people who care can make the difference between surviving the transition and thriving in professional practice.

Zahid Rajwani
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