Nursing Onboarding Process: What to Expect & How to Prepare

Last Updated on January 9, 2024

Nursing Onboarding Process: What to Expect & How to Prepare

It’s an exciting time to be a nurse! Whether you’re setting off on a new career path or looking for that next assignment, you’ll find nursing job opportunities all across the United States. But successfully landing a new job is one thing, and getting ready to start is another. With that in mind, here’s a quick look at how to prepare for the nursing onboarding process at your next job.

5 Steps: What to Expect from the Nursing Onboarding Process

What should you expect before starting that new nursing assignment? Every employer has its own onboarding process to help make sure that every nurse they hire is qualified to do the job. And they need to do that to ensure that they provide the best possible care to their patients (or residents). It’s also important for staying compliant with any laws around staffing competencies.

So, what does the nursing onboarding process usually involve? It begins with checking your paperwork, which usually includes:

1. Licensing

Each state has a different nurse licensing process, but they all share some same features. For instance, every nurse must earn a degree and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Registered nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) must pass the NCLEX-PN.

> Did you know? If you live in a nurse licensure compact (NLC) state, you may be able to work in dozens of different states with just one license.

Remember, you’ll need to show your employer that you’re licensed in the state where you’ll be working! That’s not always the same as the state where you currently live, or where you first got licensed.

2. Credentialing

The credentialing process confirms that you’re qualified for the assignment, both legally and in terms of job skills. This involves showing proof of any certifications or specializations that you claim to have. It might also include providing written proof of specializations you’ve earned in past jobs. You might also need to show documentation of past training you’ve received, especially if it’s relevant to your new job.

3. Educational Transcripts

You’ll usually have to provide proof of your education during the nursing onboarding process, such as a Bachelor’s degree (for RNs) or a nursing school degree (for LPNs and LVNs). Many states require nurses to take continuing education (CE) to stay licensed. If where you’ll be working has state CE requirements, you’ll have to show proof of that, too!

4. Medical Records

You may need to show records of vaccinations, as required by state law or individual employers. Some employers may require records of a physical exam to prove you can perform the required job duties.

5. Screenings

Some employers may also require additional screenings, like a background check or drug screening. Some states require fingerprinting as part of the criminal check.

After the documentation process, you may need to attend an orientation session to complete the onboarding process. Each employer is different, but these sessions are usually straightforward. They might include introducing you to your new managers and co-workers, and showing you the floor and settings where you’ll be working.

>Pro Tip: A Nursing Recruiter can help make onboarding easier. Don’t miss: Ask a Healthcare Recruiter: Nine Questions About Nursing Jobs!

How Can You Prepare for the Nursing Onboarding Process?

diagram on dark blue background with 3 steps for seamless nurse onboarding, including be prepared, be patient, and be flexible.
During the nursing onboarding process for your new facility, remember these 3 tips for success!

Now that you understand the nursing onboarding process, how can you prepare for it? Here are a few tips that every nurse can follow.

Be Prepared

It helps to keep copies of all the documents above handy, at all times. Whenever you get a new certification, print out a copy and add it to your portfolio. You’ll save time in the long run, and help avoid the stress of scrambling to find everything you need at the last minute.

Be Patient

Even the most seasoned nurse can get frustrated by the credentialing process, especially if there are a lot of screenings involved. Your best bet is to follow instructions carefully and patiently. You’ll avoid stress by taking the situation as it comes. You’ll also show your new employers that you can be trusted to stay calm when it matters. And that’s a pretty important skill to have in the nursing world!

Be Flexible

Many facilities are working with fewer employees than normal, for a number of reasons. That can lead to delays in onboarding. It’s a good idea to build in some extra time in terms of your own expectations in case your start date gets pushed back, or some other type of delay occurs. Adopt a friendly, can-do attitude, and show that you’re a team player.

Make Your Next Nursing Onboarding Process Easier with CareerStaff

Of course, there is a way to help make sure you don’t have to deal with any of the delays or frustration described above. When you explore nursing with CareerStaff, your recruiter will do most of this work for you. The result is a nursing onboarding process that’s as smooth and stress-free as possible.  

On top of that, we also offer thousands of jobs all across the country, in virtually every type of setting, at any given time. Check out our nursing job search page to see what’s available nationwide. Or, fill out a quick online application to connect with a personal recruiter, stat!

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