From student to newly qualified

Making the transition from student to newly-qualified practitioner can seem like a big step.

It’s not unusual to feel anxious about what will be expected of you and how much support you’ll get on your preceptorship or initial training period.

Newly-qualified nurses on ward

This page has advice and tips on how to prepare for work, how to get the best out of your preceptorship or initial training period and give tips to make the transition as worry free as possible. Our real-life stories will show you how two students have successfully made this transition.

Preparing for work

Find out what you need to do to register with the regulatory body for your healthcare profession. Your university will be able to advise you on the steps you need to take to register and you should visit the appropriate regulatory body website for full details. Check the role page on this website for your profession to find out which body that is. Consider setting up or joining an existing social media group to keep in touch with other students. When you leave your course this can be a useful way of supporting each other. But make sure you’re aware of any guidance from your professional body, trade union or regulatory body about using social media, for example the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, the General Medical Council etc.

The notes and assignments from your course will be a useful resource in your first few weeks of work so make sure you can find the information you’ll need easily.

Your preceptorship or initial training period

Preceptorships and initial training periods can differ a great deal. You may be supervised for the first few weeks or you may be expected to work independently from day one. In most cases you should have a named preceptor or mentor who is your first point of contact for support and who will be able to provide honest feedback on both your progress and areas for improvement.

"Nurses and midwives are not expected to be competent in everything. After a short period of being supervised you gradually take on more responsibilities until you are working as a fully autonomous practitioner. The most important thing to remember is that you should speak up if you don’t feel supported."

Danielle Nixon, practice development midwife, St Thomas’ Hospital

What's expected?

Find out more about professional development. 

Real-life stories

Read real-life stories from midwife Sian Hersey-Walker and physiotherapist Emily Holding about life after qualifying. 

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