New Grad Anxiety

I’m a new grad nurse with no anxiety… 

said no one, ever. 

It’s real – but you don’t have to do it alone. This is such a hot topic in the healthcare industry (especially over the last few years, let’s be real) that we even did a whole podcast and YouTube episode on it. But, let’s break down the juicy details here on helping to manage that anxiety as you’re just coming into nursing. 

Ok seasoned nurses, don’t leave quite yet. These tips are great for ALL of us. Keep reading…


Let’s go back to square one. Pick a system and stick with it. Right. 

You’re going to walk in the room and you’re going to first look at the patient, look at the monitor, and you’re going to do a mini-assessment, right?

Are they breathing? Yes or no? Is everything connected that’s supposed to be connected? Yes or no? You’re going to pull back the blanket. Is there a hemorrhage? Is there a giant GI bleed? No. Okay, Just a quick once over, then, you’re going to look at your monitor. What’s my heart rate? What’s my blood pressure? Are they oxygenating okay?

Then you’re going to look at your drips. What’s running? Is it connected? Is it running into the pillow or the patient, does the patient have access? Okay. And you’re just going to take a deep breath and just go through it.


Every provider, every new grad, every person on the planet, and health care needs to read the book The Checklist Manifesto.

A lot of people think they’re too good for checklists and they don’t need them. The truth is, it makes you better, faster. By shaving off time and making yourself more efficient, you’re more thorough, you’re less likely to miss things, and then you have more time to dig into the knowledge later.


One big issue is the confusion between urgency and importance.  A lot of times, it’s very easy for us to confuse what is urgent and what is important and then get overwhelmed. Knowing what is time sensitive and how to prioritize and time manage is going to come over your first year of working as a nurse, you have to be patient with yourself.

Go with the basics first. ABC’s. What is going to kill my patient first? Kidding, but seriously.

For example, communication with the family is important. There are times when it may be an urgent thing to do. But… It’s more important that your patient has an airway. Af a new grad, that is hard because you have to learn it. People aren’t going to tell you that it’s ok to hang up the phone on the family. They aren’t going to help you differentiate what’s urgent and what’s important. You have to make the determination that it’s more important your patient is clinically stable before I can talk to family.

Self Care. 

Taking care of your own basic physical needs as a new grad (and seasoned nurse) is key. 

Does this sound like you?  You’re not sleeping, you’re not drinking enough water, consuming a lot of caffeine, eating a lot of salt? None of that is really helpful.

Here are some things that have helped to make sure that you are taking care of yourself.

  • Calm App. This is a great app for meditation. They have these guided meditations you listen to that help you fall asleep. It helps to drown out the noise in your head to help you drift off.
  • Headspace App. This is a great app as well. You listen to speakers talking to you and helping you train your brain in the practice of mindfulness where you literally learn to quiet your thoughts, which is almost impossible for me to do for most people to do.

The main point of mindfulness is learning to be present in the moment and aware of your surroundings and physical environment. By doing that, you can regulate your emotions and anxiety. You’re not letting your brain swarm in a million directions. Practicing the skill set and training your brain like a muscle to quiet your thoughts and just observe your surroundings can help you learn to harness your anxiety.

It’s a really good skill to take with you to work as well. So not only for your home life, and learning to quiet your mind at night, but also in an emergency.

Stop the Negative Self-Talk.

It sounds so cheesy, but when you’re a new grad and you’re saying all these things to yourself, think about it – would you say this to your friends? We’re so hypercritical of ourselves to the point where it’s not constructive, it’s not helpful for us, and it’s not helpful for the patient.

I want you to take 30% of the confidence of an overconfident dude named Brad and apply that to your life. Just channel the Brad energy for a little bit.

Free yourself of the things that you can’t control. Free yourself of the guilt all of those what-ifs.  Figure out what’s in your control, assessing for it, recognizing it, communicating, escalating, care, communicating when it happens, and asking for help when you’re in over your head. 

Be kind to yourself. Period.

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