NQN Handbook

Providing guidance on the foundations of good practice, preceptorship, your employment and more.

To help support nursing staff, especially final-year students and newly qualified nurses (NQN), during the COVID-19 emergency the RCN has made its NQN handbook available online to non-members.

Final-year students, who are members of the RCN, will receive a print copy of the NQN handbook after transitioning their membership to the registered nurse first-year-discount plan, upon graduation.*

* The handbook will be dispatched at the end of month two of registered nurse first-year-discount membership.

Download the NQN handbook

To download the NQN handbook as a non-member click below to register for it, or log in if you are a member.
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Newly Qualified Nurse Handbook front cover

NQN Handbook preview

Dear Newly Qualified Nurse (or soon to be!),

So you’ve done it – you’ve passed all the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and university requirements. You can now breathe knowing that you have got that registration you have been working hard for.

But wait. That feeling of euphoria isn’t lasting and, if you are anything like us, there is a feeling of mild panic! Don’t worry – we all feel like this. Losing the support of your university, access to resources and a peer group can feel daunting. Add to this the pressure of navigating new
systems, processes and a new role. We know you can handle it, but as added support, the RCN’s Newly Qualified Nurse Handbook and network is here for you too.

We provide a whole host of guidance, including how best to make the most of your preceptorship, social media peer support and your RCN membership. This guide isn’t designed to be read from cover to cover – just dip in and out as required. You have joined a profession with history, integrity, heart and compassion at its core; one that gives us opportunity and endless possibilities if we are brave enough to take the chances we are offered.

The nursing profession gives us the privilege of being with people during some of their hardest times. As Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Wherever your nursing journey takes you, know that you will be remembered by many for how you made them feel and that individually we can be great, but together we can do something truly awesome!

Good luck in your career, we hope to meet many of you online and in person. Feel free to contact us and engage with the RCN through social media.

Clare Manley and Craig Davidson,
RCN Newly Qualified Nurse Network

• Preface - COVID-19
• Introduction 
• Members make it happen 
• Checklist 

Chapter 1. The foundations of good practice 

• The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 
• The RCN Principles of Nursing Practice 
• Clinical judgement and decision making 
• Standards and guidance 
• Escalating concerns 
• Duty of candour 
• Accountability, responsibility and delegation 
• Leadership and followership 
• Continuing professional development (CPD)

Chapter 2. Preceptorship 

• Overview of preceptorship 
• Appraisal 
• Glossary of terms

Chapter 3. Finding a balance 

• Taking care of yourself 
• Self-care and self-compassion 
• What is stress? 
• Recognising stress 
• Top tips 
• When things get tough 
• Taking action 
• Bullying 

Chapter 4. Regulatory, employment and legal issues 

• The NMC register 
• Contracts
• Payslips
• Agency and bank work
• RCN support in the workplace 
• Finances after graduating
• RCN legal support 

Chapter 5. Get involved 

• Forums and networks 
• RCN branches 
• RCN representatives 
• RCN Congress 
• RCN campaigns 
• Equality and inclusion 
• RCN conferences, courses, events and magazines 


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Join online or call our membership team on 0345 772 6100.
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