After three or more years of books, practical work, lecturers, endless coffee cups, all-nighters, and declining events to finish assignments, you’ve finally graduated as a nurse. Kudos to you!

Now, with feelings of exhilaration, happiness, and maybe a little anxiety, you are ready to enter the nursing field and put all the skills and knowledge you’ve learned to the test.

But you can’t expect yourself to land a fulfilling job right off the bat, as the job market for nurses is quite competitive nowadays, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, proving your worth is difficult.

Still, there are many effective ways for graduate nurses to stand out for the right reasons and make their mark.

This isn’t easy and will demand a heavy load of ongoing work; it’s an exciting journey and one that can help you achieve more from your job and make a difference.

The trick is to never settle into a routine; keep creating reactions and interactions in your career, and you will soon be noticed.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at a few sure-fire ways you can rise above the nursing specimen:

1. Never underestimate the power of “education.”

Luckily, you’re in a profession expected to grow steadily in the foreseeable future. This means, among other factors, that you will have choices. As a graduate nurse, you can choose from a range of specializations, so put in the effort to obtain advanced certifications if you want to stand out.

For instance, the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course can help you gain a competitive edge in your line of work if you’re interested in cardiovascular diseases. And what is ACLS certification? It’s a program that teaches healthcare professionals to use a set of algorithms to treat a series of conditions.

These conditions range from myocardial infarctions and cardiac arrest to stroke and other life-threatening situations.

Furthermore, you can take your career in any direction because online coursework allows you to learn and study on your own time and at your own pace. Your superiors will notice, and your new capabilities will add to your flourishing reputation as a valuable team member.

2. Take a strategic approach to obtain your first job

Your first job may not be exactly what you had hoped for, but it is unquestionably a step in the right direction. You will learn so much and lay the groundwork for years to come.

Remember that it is not rare for nursing graduates to graduate without knowing what specialty they want to pursue. You do, however, know yourself, and you should only seek employment opportunities that are a good fit for your lifestyle and personality.

Don’t accept a job simply because you have an offer. Instead, reach out to your network and make new connections to learn about more opportunities.

3. Improve your soft skills 

Soft skills are essential in almost all job positions, especially nursing, relying heavily on effective correspondence and organization.

Check to see if your soft skills are assets, and work on any that you believe may be restraining you. Some of the most critical soft skills for a nurse are:

  • Interpersonal abilities
  • Collaborating as a member of a team
  • Workload prioritization
  • Presentation abilities
  • Problem-solving
  • Managing Time

4. Make yourself a leader. 

Leaders don’t become leaders by getting out of bed one day and being given the title. Life isn’t a scene from the ‘Game of Thrones.’ Most leaders set themselves up for success by serving as team leaders.

When you are the “go-to” person for everyone, you’re regarded as a leader. By putting yourself in circumstances where you can take on extra responsibilities, seek out cross-training possibilities, and are looked upon as the voice of reason when things get nervy in the unit, you will be noticed.

5. Always learn from your mistakes. 

It is unavoidable to make mistakes when working in such a demanding career. Obviously, you must do everything possible to avoid errors, especially in critical areas such as nursing.

However, when they do occur, you should try to view them as a teachable moment rather than allowing them to undermine your esteem.

Many young nurses struggle to recover from a blunder and lose confidence, which will hold you back; instead, pick yourself up, figure out what went wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

6. Have thick skin 

At this point, no study or experiment will prepare you for what you’ll see as a nurse. This will always come as a surprise at first. Still, you must learn to grow thicker skin and not let what you see and experience intrudes with your performance and personal life.

This is why you often hear about healthcare professionals having a dark sense of humor, as it is a method for them to cope with the most challenging things they see daily. So, toughen up!


Hopefully, these tips and tricks will help you improve your performance and stand out as a graduate nurse. Also, you need to keep trying new things, jump outside your comfort zone, and show initiative; it is one of the best ways to progress and learn.

Lastly, everything is within your reach and your power as long as you put in the effort needed to climb the ladder and be the best nurse you can be.