Tuesday, January 15, 2019
A graphic for ladder of success

You guys … I did it! Yesterday after my morning run I was out in the backyard watering my garden and I realized how ridiculously proud I was of my silly little garden I started this spring. It could have been the runners high or the beautiful weather, but I couldn't help thinking about how proud I was of myself to once fail at something (I am talking fail horribly), take a hiatus, finally decide to try again, and then be successful. You heard me talk about my battle with gardening in the Growing Nurses Through Their Career Continuum blog post a while back and how jealous I have always been about my neighbors and their beautiful gardens. I have been on a three-year hiatus from trying to have a garden because of the disaster I had on my hands the last time I tried. Since my last garden, we have moved to a new home and I vowed I wasn't going to do it again, but as I continue to attempt to teach my children about nourishing our bodies with whole nutrient-rich foods, I decided to give it another go. 

So why was it so different this time? To start with, before trying again I spent a lot of time researching how I could be successful. I first looked at what didn't work for me last time (it was too big, it was too spread out, it took far too much of my time, and I didn't properly prep the soil prior to planting my seeds...among numerous other issues). Then I spent time scouring Pinterest (proper research for sure!) looking at gardening tips and trends, talking with my mom and aunts on their successful gardens, and then landed on something I thought might work for me.  

I decided to try a raised bed square-foot garden. I am not going to lie. My husband was very hesitant to go on this adventure with me again since it was bad, I mean really bad, last time, but he caved (I like to think my adequate research convinced him) and spent a Sunday helping me build, fill, and plant this little thing. For those who have no idea what I am talking about this new (to me) style of garden essentially allows me to plant a small garden in a raised bed that makes it easier for me to care for. Planting the vegetables close together keeps weeds from being an issue and I made sure it was close to my hose, so watering would be easy and convenient (another issue I had last time). And guess what!? It finally worked for me!  I have been reaping the benefits of my research and commitment for the last month and I couldn't be happier. Is it perfect? No, but it has come leaps and bounds from my last attempt. 

As I was watering my garden on Sunday, glowing from the pride I had with my success, my mind again began to wander to work and the facilities I speak to each day about our program. I have spoken to a few that have had a nurse residency program at one point, but due to the many challenges, they have gone away from it. Despite knowing the benefits and wanting to provide new graduate nurses with a structured program that supports their transition, it has been too difficult to overcome the challenges they face. For those of you reading this that might be in the same boat...it got me thinking if I can attempt to garden, fail miserably, and try again with success, why can't you do the same thing? Maybe all you need to do is look at delivering a nurse residency program a little differently. Just like me with my garden, maybe the traditional model just doesn't work for you.  

Transition-to-practice programs can be resource-intensive, costly, and they take a lot of time away from our educators, of which most usually have a full plate to begin with.  If you have tried to implement a nurse residency or transition-to-practice program and it didn't work like you thought, maybe you don't have to wipe your hands clean of having one just yet. Let's consider if you did what I did with my garden. What if you took some time to figure out why it didn't work the first time and spent some time researching other innovative ways to do the same thing? What if there was something out there that might work better for you? Maybe you can find an option that is more efficient and piques your interest just enough to consider trying again.

As a nurse leader, you are busy, and the dedicated resources needed for a nurse residency program might just be enough to keep you away...but guess what? It doesn't have to! There's a program out there that makes it easy to provide nurses with the support they need during that first year without an overabundance of resources. With this program, we provide you with all the tools and information you need to be successful and all you must do is spend some time "prepping the seeds", "committing to watering it regularly", and you too could reap the benefits! If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am talking about the Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program!   

I don't spend a lot of time talking about our program specifically in these blogs, but I just can't help but think that the Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program is the equivalent of a square-foot, raised bed garden. You can try the same thing in a unique way that makes it easier on you and you get very similar, if not better outcomes! That is what I love about our program. It is an innovative way to do nurse residency that improves efficiency and won't break the bank or your back, getting it done.  It is a little bit of a different way to do something that you may have tried before, and because of the uniqueness, you might quite possibly find that it will work for you this time.

If you are interested in learning more, or you are thinking it is time to try again, shoot us a message or give us a call. We would be delighted to help you try again and this time with success! Stay tuned for our next blog where I will share lessons learned from my gardening experience.  

Nicole Weathers
Program Manager, IONRP