Have you ever gotten into a car and started driving only to realize after several miles you did not know where you were going? I would venture to guess that very few of us set out on a trip somewhere without doing a little planning first. Often, we know why we are taking the trip and where our end destination is going to be. (Unless, you have already been able to retire to the good life of wandering around the countryside in a Winnebago, if this is this case this may not apply). However, for the rest of us, we spend several weeks and even months planning our trip before we take off.
In a past blog post, we talked about the role of the preceptor, mentor, and clinical coach in the transition of a new graduate nurse (NGN) to practice. As we discussed, there is confusion around this topic and the terms used to describe the support needed. Even though the literature suggests using the accurate support person, introduced at the appropriate time, using the proper term, for many healthcare organizations it's just not possible.
Nurses across the continuum experience stress unknown to most professions. Long, high-paced shifts, life-or-death decisions and the constant push to provide high-quality nursing care in a flawed healthcare system puts pressure on nurses from day one. This constant stress leads to burnout, compassion fatigue, and high turnover. New graduate nurses (NGNs) spend a great deal of their first year learning their roles and responsibilities.
This one goes out to all the new graduates or soon to be new graduate nurses out there. You have worked so hard for the last few years and you are finally ready to start working as a registered nurse. You are excited to put your learning into practice and have begun the job hunt. You have been told that the first year can be a little difficult and that you should look for a hospital that offers a nurse residency program. Maybe you have already started your search and were disappointed to find that the places you are most interested in don’t offer a residency program.
In November of 2019, I had the privilege of visiting Opelika, Alabama. There I had the opportunity to work with Lea Howell, Jennifer Terry, and many other team members from the East Alabama Medical Center to kick-off implementation of the Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program. For the year prior we had been collaborating on the project of bringing IONRP’s Blended Option to the medical center to support the transition to practice of newly graduated nurses hired by the organization.