Top Tips for Your First Contract

So you have your contract, know when your first shift will be, but feeling unsure about that looming first day on the job?  You are not alone!  As an agency nurse you are stepping into a new setting with new staff, new systems, new procedures, new everything!  It can feel like you are starting all over again.

Understanding the work environment you are about to enter is incredibly important, and will ensure a smooth start to your contract.  Here at Affinity we try to make the transition as easy as possible by providing you with a clear overview of the facility and the role you will be undertaking. Our Logistics team organise all the final details of your contract including accommodation and first shift, so you can feel confident everything has been arranged for you before you arrive. And if you do run into any unforeseen issues your placement specialist is only a phone call away!

Here are our key tips to making your new contract a success:

  • Arrive Early

Ensuring you arrive early for your first shift will help calm your nerves, allow you to get your bearings and feel more confident.  There’s nothing worse than rushing to make your first shift and ending up feeling stressed and anxious.  When you first arrive at the facility and gain access to your accommodation, see if you can take the time to orientate yourself to the layout of the facility so you know where to go the next day and who to ask for.

  • Ask Questions

No one is going to expect you to know everything when you start your contract. Make sure you ask all the questions you need to during your orientation shift and don’t stop asking as you move through your contract. You will earn respect for identifying when you need assistance, rather than trying to bluff your way through.

  • Meet Your New Colleagues

You may be the only agency nurse at a facility when you commence, or you may be one of many. Regardless, make an effort when you start to be open, friendly and approachable.  The more personal connections you make, the more fulfilling an experience you will have. Who knows, you may even form bonds that last a lifetime!

  • Be Professional

Always be mindful that you are representing both yourself and Affinity when you are on contract. You set the tone for the type of relationship you build with the facility, and this starts from day one.  Agency nursing can be a small world at times so leaving a good impression behind when you leave means never closing any doors to future opportunities.  If you have concerns, raise these in an appropriate manner and notify Affinity if you require assistance to resolve issues.

  • Go up to Speed

Each facility that you work with will operate slightly differently, so it is important to adjust your approach to suit the environment.  Familiarise yourself with their policies and procedures and how to access them. Don’t assume that your scope of practice in your previous role will necessarily be the same in your new environment.  Have some ideas on how processes and procedures can be improved?  Be mindful of how your suggestions may be received as not all facilities are looking for advice from temporary staff.

  • Go the Extra Mile

You don’t need a long contract to become a valued member of the team – going the extra mile from day one shows your colleagues that you are committed and hard working.  Be proactive, take initiative and assist your colleagues whenever you can.  Building relationships and networking can also assist you in future – we often get requests for nurses to return to facilities for additional contracts.  Having the capacity to ask staff you meet on contract to provide references for you is always going to be an asset for your future career prospects.  Be the type of person they would like to work with again in the future.