Monday, September 16, 2013


first impression, professional development

Most people will judge you within 7 seconds of meeting you. Successful people know this and engage in specific behaviors to ensure they are making a great first impression, especially in the work environment.
The first time I met Susan was when she was shadowing for an educator position we had open in our department. Immediately I thought, ”No way.” Why? Because Susan didn’t smile at all, didn’t look me in the eye; and appeared to be miserable and way too serious. You see…we injected a lot of humor into our department as a way of coping with the stressful environment (we liked to have fun) and I couldn’t see Susan fitting in.
Susan was hired anyway, despite my (and a few others) opinion NOT to hire her. As it turned out, not only was Susan a brilliant clinician/educator, she was funnier and goofier than everyone in the department combined! Seriously, I used to say that she should have been a comedian.
What happened?

Susan didn’t make a good first impression, which almost cost her the position. In retrospect, she was very nervous about interviewing for the position and allowed her anxiety to affect and even alter her fun-loving behavior. Don’t let that happen to you!
As nurses, we meet patients, their families and other members of the healthcare team every day.  To succeed, we need to pay attention to how we meet them and the impression we make.
3 tips to make a great first impression in 7 seconds:
1.   Eye contact – it’s critically important to always look somebody in the eye the first time you meet him or her.  This is true when meeting patients and their families, a potential employer, new nurse or physician, or even your boss.  Looking somebody in the eye shows interest and indicates to the person that they are important to you.
2.   Smile – Wow.  So simple but yet many nurses walk in and out of patients rooms, on the unit, or enter a room with a frown or angry look on their face.  This can totally make eye contact null and void if you don’t smile.  Smiling puts the other person at ease, demonstrates kindness and allows the other person to receive you as the nurse in a positive way.
3.   Explain your role – Patients are bombarded by strangers multiple times throughout the day. You can put them at ease in an instant by telling them who you are and what role you play in their care.

“Good morning Mr. Rossi. My name is Renee. I’m going to be your nurse today until around 3pm.”

Simple - yet incredibly effective in making a good first impression.

Patients want nurses who are knowledgeable, competent, caring AND compassionate.  Practice these 3 steps. Once mastered, they will become great habits that will help you to succeed!!

Remember, we are in the PEOPLE business who just happen to be nurses.

Here are some other great resources to help you make a great first impression:

Thanks so much for reading and for choosing to become a nurse!

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  1. During RN/GN interviews I am more concerned with "willingness" over skill sets. Food for thought....before your next, or first, RN/GN interview think about the following questions: What is your willingness to learn, your willingness to accept change, your willingness to remove yourself from drama, gossip, and other bad behavior, your willingness to bring new ideas to the organization, your willingness to adapt to the ever changing world of health care, your willingness to help others, and your willingness to be a good human? As a nurse manager, those are the questions I ask!. My team and I can teach you and improve upon your current clinical skills BUT if you don't come to me with a "spirit of willingness" to adapt, motivate change, and overcome obstacles I am not interested. -New nurses are great....Stay Willing -Terri

  2. Love it! Thanks RNManager. Great advice.