How to Make A Good First Impression At Work: A Handy Guide For New Nurses

how to make a good first impression at work

Before you even get your first job, you probably already know how challenging nursing can be. There’s the pressure of saving lives, helping patients recover, and assisting them with their needs.

But you know what the real challenge is?

It’s doing all those things while being nice to your patients.

Think of it this way:

When a patient develops a bad impression of you, there’s a good chance that she won’t trust you. She probably won’t even let you touch her. That can make it hard for you to do your job.

Since there’s no way for you to undo a first impression, it’s important that you make that first time count. Now, how to make a good first impression at work?

Check out the following tips:

1Be Presentable

This is pretty obvious if you think about it.

Since first impressions depend on physical appearance, you need to be presentable all the time. Make sure that your uniform is clean, neat, and stain-free. Don’t wear too much makeup when you’re at work and avoid wearing loud accessories.

See Also: 10 Tips & Tricks To Keep Your Nursing Scrubs in Great Shape

Check your nails, too. They should be trimmed and kept clean. If you paint your nails, make sure that your nail polish isn’t chipping.

And don’t forget your shoes. A dirty pair of shoes can easily create a negative impression.


Being presentable also means smelling nice. If your institution allows perfume, pick and use one with a subtle fragrance. Avoid anything too strong.

2Be Confident

Before a patient can put his full trust on you, you have to show that you’re worthy of that trust. If you stutter or if your hands shake, it can send the wrong message to your patient.

So, stand tall and use proper body language to convey your confidence. Make eye contact and greet your patients enthusiastically.

If you tend to get nervous when meeting people for the first time, it can help if you can become aware of your nervous habits. This way, you can keep them in check.


Although maintaining eye contact is important, make sure to keep it for a few moments only. Don’t make your patient feel uncomfortable with your stare.

See Also: 8 Common Mistakes in Introducing Yourself To Patients


As you greet your patients, make sure to show your winning smile. A warm smile can easily put any person at ease. It can also show that you’re approachable and friendly.

Also, as much as possible, try to be natural and don’t go overboard with your smile. You wouldn’t want to look creepy to your patients or make them feel that you’re faking it.

4Be On Time

When you set appointments, try to be on time. Punctuality is a sign of professionalism and it can show your patients that you are valuing them and their time.

If you arrive late or you miss your appointment, you’ll disappoint your patients and you’ll lose your credibility, too.

5Be Attentive

Pay attention to who you are talking to. Although you have a lot of things going on in your mind, don’t show your patients that you are preoccupied with other things. Give 100% of your attention because your patients deserve that.

Top 3 Mistakes When Creating A Good First Impression

Now that you know how to create a good first impression at work, let’s talk about the things that make a bad impression. Familiarize yourself with these mistakes so you can easily avoid them.

  • Trying too hard

No matter how hard you want to impress your patients, don’t try too hard. It will only turn them off.  Plus, you’ll look unnatural, too.

  • Talking too much about yourself

Allow enough room for a proper conversation so you can get to know your patients more. Give them enough time to verbalize their concerns and don’t interrupt them when they are still talking.

  • Being nosy

Although a conversation is essential in making a great first impression, it doesn’t mean that you can ask anything you want. There are things that your patient may not feel comfortable discussing with a stranger. If that is the case, give your patient enough time to develop trust in you.