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5 Ways to Retain New Graduate Nurses

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media, July 5, 2011

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 nurse-to-nurse hostility or the benefits of specialty certification for long-term career growth.

If your organization doesn't have a formal program for matching nurses with mentors, start one. The 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.

The old refrain says that employees don't leave organizations, they leave managers. This is especially true in nursing where many nurse managers are promoted because they have excellent clinical skills, but are left on their own to figure out everything from how to balance the unit budget to how to manage their staff.

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 results will be evident both in staff and patient satisfaction scores.

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9 comments on "5 Ways to Retain New Graduate Nurses"


INSCOL Academy (8/9/2013 at 8:31 AM)
Hi Cgilmart Thanks for sharing timely post. Nurses have the potential to make a huge impact, and We should encourage others to make the lea-pare of in the same way.

Leslie Ann Rodriguez (10/31/2012 at 11:41 AM)
Hi CG! What hospital you work in that hires new grad nurses? I'm still trying to find a hospital in NY that will accept a new grad. Any suggestions? (Montefiore and NY Presbyterian are impossible - tried for months)

CG (7/7/2011 at 9:41 AM)
I work at a hospital that does all these things. If you don't, perhaps its time to look for a place that does this. We provide individualized competency based orientations for nurses so if you're experienced, you won't sit through 4 hrs of IV training, etc. We do hire new grads and have a certified nurse residency program. Why should only doctors have time to practice their educational preparation in such a complicated field and nurses don't. I agree that its short sighted if hospitals don't hire new grads. We all had to start somewhere as a new grad. There are hospitals in my city that don't hire new grads- its their loss and our gain. These grads are fresh and ready to start their careers, let's help them love what they've invested their heart in and nurture them to give great patient care. They will be taking care of us one day, let's train them right! As the majority of nurses are women, we must stop the cycle of abuse sometimes given by seasoned nurses and doctors. This harms the patient, which is why they come into a hospital- to get great nursing care.