Five Tips on Transitioning to a Hospital

Five Tips on Transitioning to a Hospital

Are you thinking about transitioning to a hospital, and you’re unsure whether it’ll be the right fit or what to expect? Working in a hospital is sometimes considered to be so different; it’s like working in another world.

If your background has been in slow-paced settings where you always have the same team, you’re due for a rough awakening. To help you transition, we’ve compiled a list of five tips on transitioning to a hospital setting. 

Be Prepared 

Being prepared goes for any job, but it is even more critical when working in a hospital. If you’ve spent years working in a slow-paced clinical setting and haven’t practiced all your skills, it’s time to brush up.

Find family members to practice on, re-read your books, and watch YouTube videos. When you’re working in a hospital setting, it is fast-paced, no-nonsense, and you need to know your stuff.

When you aren’t prepared, you’ll miss growth opportunities, lose patient lives (if you’re working an applicable position), and might be at risk getting fired. You also may have a harder time making friends if you are too slow or aren’t on your A-Game.

Think of it like this; if you come in and seem lost, people will treat you like you don’t belong. If you come in and are on your A-game and are an asset to the team, people will treat you as such. Be prepared, over-prepare

Familiarize Yourself With The Hospital

Pre-COVID I would have told you to walk the hospital grounds so you could know where everything is with your eyes closed before your first day. This tends to be a BIG one when people start, and it can hold you back from getting things done on time and being an asset to the team.

Knowing where the ER, OR, Cafeteria, etc. is is critical. When it comes time to help out the staff or run a lab stat, knowing where to go without asking questions won’t just get you brownie points, it’ll also help you get things done faster, making you shift smoother.

Make Friends 

For introverts like myself, this can be incredibly hard to do. Mainly because when I am at work, I am on a mission to be there, get done what I am there to get done, and make a difference in the patient’s lives. Being an INFJ myself, it’s also incredibly hard for me to practice small talk (most people love) or gossip.

Over the years, however, I found that making friends is vital to team building and is responsible for the unit’s overall success and the health and well-being of the patients. Rather than participating in small talk or gossip, I opted for the old fashioned way of winning over hearts through their stomach.

Every month or so, I would bring a new dish to the unit break room as a special treat for everyone (never just on a planned and expected date). Sometimes it was homemade 5-cheese macaroni and cheese; other times, it was white chocolate peanut butter rice crispies.

Everyone had their favorite thing I would bring in, and it would brighten their day when it was theirs. Bringing in food shows the team that you are there for the long haul, that you’re thinking about them, and care about them. Making friends doesn’t have to mean you meet outside of work (although it helps).

Show you’re there for them and offer a helping hand when you can see they are busy. Doing both can do wonders. 

Grow Thick Skin 

This can be a hard one for anyone. However, thick skin is almost a requirement when it comes to working in a hospital. If you are a caring and loving person, please don’t change as hospitals need more of you. However, you will need to learn to let things roll off you back.

Doctors and Nurses can all be rude, blunt with their thoughts and feelings, or downright nasty. When you work in a fast-paced setting and don’t know how to do something they expect you to, you are too slow, or even when you don’t do anything wrong, and they are just having a bad day, you’ll hear it. 

Practice Self-Care 

Working in a hospital comes with a lot of stress, which is even more of a reason to make sure you’re practicing self-care as much as possible. Patients will die, mistakes will be made, things will be forgotten to be charted, and people will snap at you.

There may be days where you’re helping a patient to the restroom (even when it might not be in your job description), and they manage to pee on you while you’re properly helping them out of bed. Codes may be called, and lives may be lost far too soon.

To help you manage the stress and sadness that comes with working in a fast-paced, high-demanding, and emotional rollercoaster job setting, self-care will be vital. Take the time to do things that make your heart happy and keep your body healthy. 

Do you have any additional tips for transitioning to a hospital? Let us know in the comments below. 


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About the author

Ashley Carty

Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.

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