New graduates are often eager to leave the world of classes and studying behind, and jump feet first into their career. With a significant number of the current nursing workforce reaching retirement age, projected at 1 million by 2025, hospitals are adding more recent grads to the employment pipeline just to keep up.
Finding ways to develop these novice nurses into the best practitioners they can be by advancing their professional development often falls on the administrators’ shoulders.
A Nurse Residency Program (NRP) is one option intended to make the leap from student to practicing nurse smoother for everyone by focusing on leadership, patient safety, and interdisciplinary care. Below we’ll explore why your hospital should consider implementing this type of program and what benefits can be expected.
1. Increase Critical Competencies
When a new nurse begins his or her hospital career, they must learn the many policies, procedures and routines of the facility. While this is important and necessary, it’s easy to lose focus on some of the bigger core competencies. NRPs focus on developing areas such as evidence based decision making and communication skills. The combination of mentorship and practicing critical skills that take hands on experience, lets new nurses feel empowered to transition from the educational to professional setting.
2. Reduce Nursing Turnover
Employee turnover is found in any type of job; however when it comes to healthcare, high nursing turnover can disrupt not only other staff members but also patients themselves. According to RN Work Project, 17.9% of nurses left within one year of starting their first job. The first year is recognized as a period of extreme stress, which can make novice nurses more prone to leaving the profession. According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center, “Nurse Residency Programs increase/improve newly licensed registered nurse job satisfaction, retention, and performance”. They can also save money compared to the cost of replacing those who leave, estimated at $80,000-100,000 per RN.
3. Achieve higher levels of patient-centered care
A survey conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) found that less than half of respondents felt new graduate RNs were prepared to give safe and effective care. This is a concern for all healthcare facilities, but especially for hospitals seeking to apply for the Magnet Recognition Program®. In order to begin the Journey to Magnet Excellence®, a hospital must analyze gaps and develop an action plan to achieve higher performance levels. This may mean investing in a NRP to produce highly trained nurses with a substantial focus on patient safety. Make sure your program has measurable goals specific to evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and patient-centered care.
Finding ways to bridge the gap between school and practice will be an important part of on-boarding new nurses as the number of recent grads begins to outgrow that of experienced RNs. Creating a nurse residency program is an investment you can make now to benefit your hospital for years to come.
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