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The first nursing shift

The first nursing shift

The first nursing shift


Everyone gets that anxious feeling when you are on your way to your first shift and new facility. That is totally normal! But take a deep breath, be proud of yourself, prep the night before, and get ready for an amazing new experience.


  • Pack your lunch – you’re going to get lost on your first day trying to locate the cafeteria and then buy lunch, eat it and find your way back,


  • Sign on before commencing shift – check the eHCA app and click on shift details. It will tell you where in the hospital you need to sign on before your shift. This is where you will be allocated to your area. Whilst signing on, you can ask the coordinators the best way to get to your ward if you are unsure.


  • Make sure to initiate your breaks if you feel you have missed out. Some wards can be very busy, and we don’t know the routine of each facility. You are entitled to a 15–20-minute tea break (paid) and a 30-minute meal break (unpaid). Some facilities prefer you to take it as one big break of 45 minutes or split it into a short 15-minute tea break and a 30-minute lunch break. Make sure to verbalise to your in-charge if you haven’t had your break, so they are aware.


  • Ask for a quick tour – some facilities have SO many agency nurses come through, and some come quite regularly. If you are new to a facility and/or ward, ensure to ask for a quick 10-minute tour/orientation of the ward. They’d be happy to show you around!


  • Meet your team leader and introduce yourself


Some wards are unable to give you a medication key to access patient drawers (as they get lost), or swipe cards to access the medication room. You will sometimes have a buddy (team nursing), or you will have your own allocation and the nurse next to your room will be your buddy. Make sure to verbalise with the nurse that you will need help with medications out of the medication room.


Most facilities use the eHCA app to sign your timesheet at the end of your shift so make sure you head back to the sign on office and sign off and get the coordinator, or a ream leader on the floor, to sign your online timesheet before you leave 🙂


HCa nurse walking into work holding a HCA purple bag 1 scaled - Healthcare Australia


Hot Tips

  • Search the hospital you are going to and have a look at the map online. This helps get a visual of where you need to go/park
  • Aim to be at shift at least 45 minutes early.
  • This will help calm the nerves, locate where you need to sign on, locate your ward, put your bag away and commence your shift
  • Always wear your badge, so it is visual, and staff and patients know your name 🙂
  • Always wear your HCA uniform, which includes the HCA top and black or navy pants.
  • Have fun! Enjoy playing in a new area and learning something new from a different environment than you aren’t used to. Every experience is something you can add to your resume and library of experiences, as well as being an opportunity for growth for yourself!


Healthcare Australia

Healthcare Australia services the healthcare industry with the highest quality staffing solutions, while also offering a wide variety of services aimed at supporting community health and wellbeing.

HCA connects healthcare professionals, organisations, and people to provide end-to-end healthcare solutions as needed. We fill the healthcare skills gap to ensure people in Australia always have the support they require. That’s why HCA is Australia’s #1 healthcare solutions provider.

If you would like to discuss your Aged Care Learning needs and how the HCA LMS might match your organisational requirements, contact us today.

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