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Nursing Management

March 2013, Volume 44 Number 3 , p 8 - 9


  • Leslie R. Smith MSN, RN


New graduates have limited experiences from which to base professional decisions. They haven't had the opportunity to gain needed skills, such as task prioritization, efficiency, and organization. This lack of experience may create a dearth of confidence, which deters the mindfulness and clinical reasoning required of healthcare professionals and leads to work-related stress and possible job burnout.1 Added stressors for new nurses come into play when one considers that their mentors are also RNs trying to navigate the complex healthcare system while prioritizing patient care along with preceptorship of a new employee. However, on a busy nursing unit, a new graduate may not have the resource of an experienced RN available when needed, and errors can occur due to poor judgment or lack of knowledge/skills.A group of Australian researchers conducted a study to assess the support provided to new graduate nurses and promote an environment of safety while helping transition new RNs into independent practice.2 The researchers identified problems with the onboarding of new nurses, including (1) lack of staff, (2) lack of consistency with preceptors, (3) general realities of the unit, and (4) overall staff behaviors and attitudes.2 The hospital comprised a large number of part-time staff with a poor skill mix that made it difficult to support and mentor new graduates. There was also a lack of consistently available preceptors. Researchers noted that the most severe barrier to preceptorship was "staff attitudes that included treating the graduates in a rude and dismissive manner and as being 'naturally incompetent' and inferior to others."2Nurse executives must prepare work environments to be effective for all nursing staff. Promoting patient safety and quality is essential for the success of an organization. Nurse leaders must promote a culture of systems thinking to organize practice and hardwire processes to decrease error rates. This is especially important for the recent

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