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5 Ways to Retain New Graduate Nurses



New nurses have a difficult time bridging the gap from nursing school to practice and hospitals must recognize this difficult transition. Here are five strategies that help new graduates through the transition and ensure that they are engaged, long-term employees.



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.
Tracey H. (7/6/2011 at 6:04 PM)

"Hospitals across the country are welcoming new graduates....." REALLY? That has not been my experience in the NJ/NY area. Hospitals & LTC's are decidedly NOT hiring or training new grads by hiding behind online application screening. It is shortsighted, cheap, and unprofessional.
Janice Smith,MSN, RNC (7/6/2011 at 2:03 PM)

I do not understand why this expectation is being put on hospitals. Yes I agree these are good programs but hospitals cannot absorb this cost. When I was in nursing school my clinicals helped this process. Today I do not see the amount of time needed for nursing students to even learn the basics of bedside nursing and seldom see instructors with the clinical expertise to help these students learn nursing at the bedside. There has to be more to nursing school again other than classroom learning. Hospitals do not have the indirect time needed to do these programs. As payment gets leaner and leaner for hospitals I feel nursing schools must get nurses doing more clinicals that I have seen decrease over the last 20years. Yes I am a nurse of 41 years so do have experience and have witnessed first hand the changes. However I think it is unrealistic to expect hospitals to absorb this cost. Increase the salary of nursing instructors and perhaps the length of time required for schooling may have to increase.
ND (7/6/2011 at 1:44 PM)

What a lovely little fairy tale of how to keep new nurses. I worked at many hospitals and nowhere did I see ANY of these ideas in practice. Training: we were often forced to sit through lectures and practical demonstrations on things we knew how to do. After years of starting IVs, I had to sit through a 4-hour class on IV starts, including poking a rubber arm to show I knew how to do it. I lost count of the number of times I had to sit through a class on the use of glucometer. After several years in the PACU, I had a trainer say to me, "Now I want you to just sit and observe the interaction between the patient and the anesthesiologist." HUH? In that same PACU, the nurses went into panic mode when a patient came out of the OR still needing a ventilator. This was a teaching hospital. Management: every single nurse manager I ever worked for was exactly the same. They were ultimate source of bullying, harassment, and favoritism; it started with them and flowed downhill. They get promoted and have their own power base and the rest of the staff is left hung out to dry. I've seen a manager sit and watch while one nurse bullied another, including name-calling, while he stared at the floor. I saw a manager blow off blatant sexual harassment. I saw a manager give a nurse an unsafe patient assignment as "punishment" for a perceived misbehavior. Bullying by others: I saw lots of bullying by physicians and not one was ever called to account for his or her behaviors. "Well, that's just how Dr. So and So is...if he yells at you and hangs up the phone in your ear, you just have to take it." Mentoring: Maybe your "mentor" will watch out for you, maybe not. They are likely sick of training newbies and are griping about their responsibility behind your back. New nurses aren't going to last because even the abuse and head games that go on in nursing school are nothing compared to the real job. It's a lousy profession. Thank God I'm out of it.
Kristin Baird, RN, BSN, MHA (7/6/2011 at 1:27 PM)

Rebecca, Thank you for this article. It is especially timely given our newly-minted grads. You've summarized some of the main issues that I typically unearth during focus groups with nurses with the exception of staffing and shift work. I've seen more nurses burn out because as new grads they get stuck on night shift never to see the light of day again for a decade. They often express that they don't feel heard by management. I wholeheartedly agree with all of the bullets, but particularly the point about the managers. If you want to keep nurses, (or any employee for that matter)culture is king and the manager is the front line keeper of the culture. There are distinct drivers of engagement that an astute manager will be attentive to. It's important that new grads have the mentoring and modeling that will help them to grow and develop as competent clinicians who are also connected to purpose.
NL Snyder (7/6/2011 at 11:59 AM)

1) The way nurses are treated by physicians and hospital personnel; 2) the way nurses are treated by the elitist mindset that the 3yr/2 yr. nursing programs are not acceptable; 3) the elitist mindset that the only career path/progress for an RN of lesser education is to continue in school; 4) the elitist mindset that more education brings you more money; 5) the elitist mindset that more educations make you a better nurse; 6) the elitist mindset that more education brings with it more respect; 7) the elitist mindset that you have to have a BSN, MSN or a PHD in nursing in order to participate in a major role educating nurses; and 8) the elitist mindset that if the field of nursing you elect to practice in is not hands on in a hospital/nurses homes you are not a real nurse. There are positions for all professional nurses regardless of the educational base. And there are many positions a graduate of a 3 or 2 year nursing program who is an RN/LPN is qualified to fill. If continuing in school is a goal for an RN/LPN so be it. However the pathway should not be one created by those who feel their highway is the only highway in producing professional nurses. I think it is pass time for all nurses, regardless of level of education, to wake up to the reality that: We are where we are because of the male dominate corporate culture we work in, however we remain stymied in that culture because of us. This academic elitist attitude has been in place for the last 30 or so years. Don't you think it's about time we stop this, work together and support each other by recognizing our worth regardless of the educational level? A united front has a way of changing things. Don't you think its about time we are recognized as a very important part of the medical delivery system? Don't you think its time we are considered part of that medical delivery system based on our skills/professionalism and not on the educational path we took to get there? Nancy L. Snyder, MEd, BSN, RN COHN-S, CCM Medical Risk Management Consultants POB 11841 Knoxville, TN 37919
jsilver (7/6/2011 at 11:53 AM)

So I guess having manageable and safe staffing levels are out of the question?