5 Tips for New Nurse Grad Orientation
HealthApril 26, 2017

5 tips for new nurse grad orientation

Learn best practices for hiring and retaining the best nursing staff.

With spring semester winding down, there will soon be a new class of graduating nurses entering the clinical workforce for the first time.

Does your facility have the necessary people and processes in place to help these fledgling nurses quickly get up to speed?

Hiring new nurses right out of college requires a formal orientation program to ensure that they are up to speed on all of the facility's policies and procedures. Here are five strategies (as advised by www.healthleadersmedia.com) to help new nurse graduates through the transition and assure that they become engaged, long-term employees.

1. Provide a competency-based orientation.

Once new graduates have completed general organization-wide orientation, they should be sent to their unit or floor for more specific training.

A one-size-fits-all approach to orientation is less effective at welcoming new nurses. Successful orientations should be based on competency assessment and be personalized to nurses’ individual training and development needs. Customized training and development creates engaged employees and allows managers to allocate financial resources appropriately, rather than sending every employee to every class.

2. Offer a nurse residency program.

If you don't have a nurse residency program, look into establishing one. The best programs run throughout new graduates’ first year of practice and support them through the transition and various phases of competence. The programs give new nurses the tools to become competent practitioners.

Residency programs require an investment in time, people, and resources, but research has shown the initial investment is more than made up by increases in competency and retention. Large hospital systems with significant numbers of new graduate hires can save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually by investing in residency programs. Even small organizations can make up for the expense of a program.

3. Encourage mentoring.

Mentoring new nurse hires can be formal or informal. Many nurse residency programs include mentoring from the program coordinator, nursing professional development specialists, or simply through nurses in the programs finding friends amongst their colleagues.

The best mentoring provides more than just emotional support. Effective mentors guide new nurses through career progression and model how to be good nurses. These mentors are well versed on any number of career challenges and opportunities, whether it's discussing coping with workplace tensions or the benefits of specialty certification for long-term career growth.

The mentoring process is just as fulfilling for the mentor as for the mentee and it's a good way to help experienced nurses stay engaged and committed.

4. Ensure good managers.

Investing in leadership training benefits the entire organization. New nurses need managers who set clear behavioral and performance expectations, who create a healthy work environment free from bullying, and who pay attention to staff's continuing education and professional development.

The best managers are inspirational leaders who set expectations, coach, inspire, and nurture new graduates to create the best patient care environment possible. The benefits are evident both in staff and patient satisfaction scores.

5. Recognize and support.

If you want commitment from your nurses, you've got to show them commitment. Show new nurse graduates that you value them and are committed to their long-term career progression. Offer tuition reimbursement and support for nurses who return to school. If your new hires don't have a BSN, help them set a timeframe for doing so—and a manageable path for how to get there. Don't stop at BSN; many facilities are encouraging MSNs and higher.

Many nurses experience burn out and some even leave the profession altogether. Don't let new graduates be bullied by other nurses, physicians, or anyone else. Outline and enforce a zero tolerance policy to let the organization know that bad behavior isn't tolerated from anyone.

New nurses get discouraged and frustrated when the real-world nursing job doesn't resemble what they thought it would be. Encourage them to become involved with shared governance councils that directly influence the practice environment. Get them to enroll in quality improvement initiatives. Invite enthusiastic new graduates to be part of patient satisfaction and patient experience planning.

What does your facility's new nurse hire orientation program look like? Is this an area with some room for improvement?

If so, let Lippincott help!  Lippincott Professional Development Toolkit, the newest addition to the institutional Lippincott Solutions software suite will enable you to easily bridge any gaps to competency with its’ library of customizable, evidence-based online lesson plans that support live instructor-led training, while also providing a blended, online learning experience.

Click HERE to learn more about Lippincott Professional Development Toolkit and how you can use it to streamline orientation at your facility.

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