The group members themselves guide this open-ended discussion, which serves to bring closure to the first year of employment. They also evaluate the orientation program to provide feedback on their experiences.
Prickitt-White is "thrilled" with the link between her new program and retention rates.
"The retention rate one year after program implementation jumped to 65%," she says. "Today, three years later, retention has reached 80%."
Although many factors influence retention, it is clear that there is an association between the new program and improved retention. Other program strengths include enhanced communication, increased feelings of support among and for orientees, and more time for orientees to become assimilated into the organization. Challenges include the ongoing need to work with new administrators and managers to maintain buy in for the new program, scheduling nurses to attend the third and fourth program sessions (by this point they are carrying full patient loads and need to be covered on their units), and finding ways to effectively utilize orientation feedback.
Editor's note: Prickitt-White presented her findings at the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board conference in March 2009. She is currently working on developing a manuscript for publication to share her success with other staff development specialists. Prickitt-White's innovation has not only helped her organization and its newly-hired nurses, but has added to the evidence-based body of staff development knowledge as well.
This article was adapted from one that originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of The Staff Educator, an HCPro publication.