Six Tips for New Nurses to Cope with Work-Related Challenges

There comes the point in every student’s life when they have to answer the question what’s next? Though there isn’t any correct or incorrect answer, choose a career path that piques your interest.

Six Tips for New Nurses to Cope with Work-Related Challenges

For instance, nursing might be a great fit if you love working for people and want a rewarding career that positively impacts the well-being of patients and the community. 

Unlike other professions, every day in nursing is different from yesterday. As a nurse, you have various opportunities to contribute to society and the healthcare system. 

It varies from providing patient care to promoting health and education in the community or researching to improve practice and patient outcomes. 

A nurse’s role is not limited to delivering essential patient care; various health-related challenges also push them to become patient advocates, protecting a patient’s interest when they are incapable due to illness or lack sufficient knowledge.

One of the great things about the nursing field is the various workplaces you get to serve. From practicing in metropolitan areas to rural communities or even taking up the educator’s role in nursing school, the list of career advancement opportunities is endless. 

If you have the temperament and the passion for helping others, don’t overthink, and kick off your nursing career by enrolling in nursing programs online. Nursing might be rewarding and lucrative, but as with all professions, the particular career path has challenges that every new nurse must learn to cope with. 

Let’s look at how nurses can overcome work-related stress. 

1. Surviving the Long shifts

One of the biggest challenges nurses face regularly is surviving the night shift. Even after completing administrative tasks and shift change procedures, the shift tends to last approximately 10-12 hours for a prolonged period. 

Frequently pulling an all-nighter becomes physically and emotionally taxing, causing burnout. The most effective way to not let the work get the better of you is to get enough rest when left with some extra time. Ask your family members to take responsibility for completing your tasks so that you can rest.  

A few other tips to help you overcome the stress of long working hours is to create a sleeping environment. Invest in blackout curtains, ear plugs, and eye masks to prepare the mind for sleep. 

Furthermore, keep track of your caffeine intake to prevent an imbalance in your sleep and work schedule. 

2. Overcoming Workplace Violence

Nothing is more traumatizing for nurses than experiencing workplace violence, be it verbal abuse from patients or threats from current staff. So, how can nurses protect themselves? Well, there are a few strategies that help.

First and foremost, avoid working alone if you feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable around a patient. Although you might have to walk into a patient’s room to administer medicine during night shifts, never do it alone if you feel uneasy around a patient. Following your intuition and asking another nurse to come with you is never a bad idea. 

Ensure that you are trained to cope with both physical and verbal abuse. As a newly qualified nurse, you might be susceptible to workplace violence. To prevent that, look for warning signs and report any suspicious behavior to your supervisor. 

3. Breaking the Communication Barrier

Nurses are on the front line when it comes to interacting with patients. The way nurses communicate effectively is critical to establishing better patient outcomes. That said, nurses must break down communication barriers to avoid misconceptions and misinterpretations. 

A few strategies that help include incorporating active listening in practice and being considerate of the patient’s strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to active listening and just hearing, try to comprehend the message being conveyed. Lack of attention leads to missing valuable information, which later creates problems. 

Incorporate either visual or hands-on techniques if a patient has any mental, emotional, or physical condition that is likely to hinder their learning capacity. Doing so ensures that the patient understands everything conveyed to them. 

Nurses can overcome communication barriers with small changes from awareness of needs to strong bedside manner skills, and a healthy nurse-patient relationship can be fostered. 

4. Managing staff shortage

As a nurse, you might encounter circumstances that force you to work overtime due to the lack of nurses, which causes you to bear the brunt. Nurses have to work double shifts and are responsible for more patients.  

One way of avoiding burnout or putting your health at risk is by researching overtime and scheduling policies for the place you are interviewing. Get in touch with nurses already working there to get an insight into the work schedules and the number of people on the job. 

Besides that, you can also look for administrative roles or opt for private clinics that offer traditional working hours without a work backload.   

5. Protection against infection or illnesses

As a nurse, you must care for sick patients, which means the likelihood of you getting exposed to bacteria or catching illnesses is higher than an average person. In addition, nurses also come in close contact with hazardous chemicals used during cleaning and sanitizing. As a result, all these factors put a nurse’s health at risk.

Nurses must follow safety protocols when working near patients and hazardous materials. Safety measures include wearing personal protective equipment like goggles, gowns, and face masks. 

Read instructions carefully before handling chemicals or working with machinery. To prevent the risk of contracting a virus or infection, dispose of sharp objects correctly. 

Another way to reduce the infection risk is by washing your hands regularly. If the global health crisis taught us anything, it was important always to keep your hands clean. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you if you don’t have the time to wash your hands properly. 

6. Seek emotional support

Unlike other professions, nursing, as a profession, has emotional implications. Nurses become emotionally invested in patients’ lives which sometimes becomes a difficult burden to carry. In such instances, nurses must seek external support from a family member, friend, or therapist to discuss their emotional state. 

As a nurse, you must unburden yourself after handling a traumatic case or working a long shift. Instead of adopting unhealthy ways to cope with work-related stress, seeking emotional support helps you process your emotions constructively and healthily. 

Moreover, seeking emotional support helps a nurse move forward from one patient to the next with strength than weakness. 


Working in the healthcare sector is not only about looking after patients’ well-being; you also have to think about your health. As a nurse, your health comes first because the patients and your work will likely suffer if you are unwell. 

Despite being a rewarding and promising field, working as a nurse is taxing, which, as stated earlier, impacts your health. To overcome stress, there are a few ways. These include seeking emotional support, taking enough time to rest, and protecting yourself from illness or infections.