Your first day working at a new hospital is similar to the first day of high school or college – you may feel excited, yet a bit insecure. Although starting a new job is a period in your life filled with great promise and expectations, it may also cause you to feel nervous. First impressions are everything and you surely want to make an impression on your superiors and colleagues. You also want to show them that you were the right choice for the job and build your reputation from day 1. So, what exactly should your first day working at a new hospital look like? To help get you started on the right track, here are a few helpful tips on how to prepare and thrive on your first day:
1. Do a test drive to the hospital the night before – Consider doing a test drive to the hospital the night before you have to come in for your first day. This way, you can get a better sense of the route, such as which streets to take and which to avoid. Additionally, you can estimate the duration to the hospital (taking into account traffic and street lights) since you do not want to be late on your first day.
2. Dress appropriately – In terms of how to dress for your new job, hopefully you took note of what other workers were wearing when you came in for your first interview. If you are not certain, consider overdressing the first few weeks and then alter your attire, as opposed to under-dressing and looking as if you are not taking your new job seriously.
3. Arrive about 15 minutes early – Arrive at the hospital about 15 minutes early to show that you are a well-organized individual and eager to start your new job. Grab a cup of coffee or have some breakfast to boost your energy levels.
4. Keep your documents in order – On your first day, you will receive a lot of paperwork, badges, tags, and other documents to fill out and sign. It is important that you keep track of these documents, so consider keeping them in a folder at home. Do not throw anything away because you never know when you might need them.
5. Introduce yourself – When you are a new member at a hospital, it is expected that you introduce yourself to each hospital member you meet. The night before your first day, practice how you want to introduce yourself and what you would like to say. When introducing yourself, make sure to maintain steady eye contact and present a firm handshake so that you come across as friendly, reliable, and confident to those around you. “It is critical to shake as many hands as possible. Offer a genuine smile, and spark dialogue with co-workers. Let others know that you are available to help and that you are looking forward to collaborating with them. This type of relationship building goes a long way, and it will reap dividends throughout your career by widening your network,” said Nirav Mehta, associate director of the Ross School of Business.
6. Work closely with your assigned mentor – During your first day, you will probably be assigned a mentor. Do not remain quiet and simply listen to him or her. Work closely together, ask questions and have him or her address any concerns that you might have. The more informed you are, the more certain you will be in your new position and less likely to make medical errors.
7. Bond with your colleagues – At a doctor's new job, you want to make a good impression, particularly because you may not realize it, but it may matter to you what others think of you. Bond with your colleagues and get to know them. Offer to help them in difficult situations and let them know that you are a team player.
8. Maintain a professional stance – In a hospital, there are several hospital departments, staffed by many healthcare professionals. When you are at a new job at hospital and trying to fit in, it can be easy to get caught up in negative forces at work, such as arguments and discussions. Remember that each individual perceives things differently so maintain a professional stance and try to come up with an appropriate response for a particular situation that will not arise negativity.
9. Observe your superior and colleagues in the clinical setting – Take a step back to watch and learn how your superior and colleagues handle difficult patients and difficult situations. See how they arrive to an agreement, as well as what approach works best and what doesn’t. Most important, watch how they interact with one another.
10. Take advantage of every single learning opportunity – Being in a new environment gives you the opportunity to learn from those around you, so actively engage in new employee orientations. If at the end of the orientation you do not feel comfortable working on your own or you are still feeling insecure in certain situations/procedures, ask to be re-oriented.
11. Ask questions – When you are learning the ropes on your first day at a new hospital, you should always ask questions. No one expects you to know everything right away, but they do expect you to want to learn, so do not be afraid or ashamed to ask questions.
12. Take notes – Have a notebook handy with you and write down anything that you find important down on paper. Take notes about colleagues’ names, positions, your questions, your goals, and anything you might be unsure of.
13. Prioritize your tasks – It is crucial that you prioritize your tasks and learn to assess which things are the most important to your work. Ask your colleagues how they handle different tasks and situations in order to find new approaches to doing things. As a new member, you can get a much clearer image of how the hospital runs and how to best handle unique patient situations.
14. Do research about the hospital and be prepared – You should research all aspects of the hospital to the best of your ability so that you are well informed about any situation that might arise during your first day. Doing so, you will give off the impression that you are interested in how different things are done and how different situations are handled.
15. Maintain a positive attitude – On your first day, you should show up with a smile, a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Be friendly to each hospital member you meet, strive to make a lasting first impression to those around you, and be a team player.
16. Stay a little late – Plan to stay a little late on your first day. At the end of your shift, provide your superior with some feedback, ask questions, and express any concerns that you might have. If you head home right after your shift is over on the first day, it can be interpreted the wrong way, as if you are unhappy with your new job.
17. Do not get frustrated or discouraged – All change is overwhelming and frightening. Being in a new clinical setting may cause you to feel frustrated or discouraged because you may not be used to certain things. However, keep in mind that you need time to adapt to your new position and your new environment.
18. Show what you know – The first day is your time to shine! Show your superior and colleagues what you know and how you can benefit the team, as well as the hospital in general. Rather than simply agreeing with everything that is said, speak up if you have any ideas or comments. Put your skills and expertise to good use!
Following the above steps can guide you to steer clear of any unwanted mistakes and help facilitate a smooth transition to your new practice environment.