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It's Nurses Week. Get It?

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, May 3, 2011

If you haven't read its eight top recommendations, I suggest you do so.

I was delighted to discover that nursing executives had the IOM report on their minds at the annual convention of the American Organization of Nurse Executives last month. Attendees were actively talking about how their organizations could implement recommendations, particularly through focusing more attention on new graduate preparation and nurse residency programs to support transition.

Nurse residency programs are one of the easiest IOM recommendations that hospitals can implement right away. The report calls for all new nurse graduates to be given transition programs. Such programs help new graduates bridge what is known as the preparation-practice gap, which is the technical term for the fact that new graduates are woefully unprepared for full-patient caseloads after only a short orientation and that they need time and assistance to become competent, confident practitioners.

Nurse residency programs benefit both new graduates and the organizations they work for. Not only do they support and educate new nurses, guiding them as they learn how to be nurses, they also increase competence and reduce turnover, ensuring the hospital a favorable return on investment.

Many new nurses graduating in the coming weeks will actively seek hospitals that offer nurse residency programs. To new grads, they are a sign that hospitals prioritize staff member's professional development and offer a positive work environment.

As you celebrate nurses this year, focus on positive accomplishments, but don't miss the opportunity to engage in frank conversations and build partnerships for improvement.


Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at rhendren@hcpro.com.

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1 comments on "It's Nurses Week. Get It?"


Kenneth Dion, RN, PhD (5/5/2011 at 11:23 AM)
Although nurse residencies have been shown to decrease turnover among new graduated nurses, they must be considered in the context of cost and work environment. Well developed residency programs can be costly to initiate and maintain. Additionally, initiatives to improve the work environment, such as attaining Magnet Designation, have been shown to decrease turnover in new graduates as well as tenured nursing staff.