5. Recognize and support.
If you want commitment, you've got to show commitment. New graduates should be shown you value them and are committed to their long-term career progression. Highlight tuition reimbursement and offer praise and support for nurses who return to school. The IOM's Future of Nursing report is pushing for 80% of RNs to have their BSN by 2020. If your new hires don't have a BSN, help them set a timeframe for doing so—and a manageable path for how to get there. And don't stop at BSN.
Many new nurses burn out and leave because of bullying or a hostile workplace. Don't let new graduates be bullied by other nurses, physicians, or anyone. If you don't have a zero tolerance policy, get one now. If you have one, make sure it's being enforced. Is there a rogue cardiologist, for example, who no one wants to work with, but whose bad behavior is tolerated because he brings in so much revenue? Make a stand now. Let the organization know that bad behavior isn't tolerated from anyone.
New nurses get discouraged and burnout when real-world nursing doesn't resemble what they thought it would be. Help them make a difference and effect change. Encourage them to become involved with shared governance councils that directly influence the practice environment. Get them to enroll in quality improvement initiatives. Make sure they are learning about evidence-based practice. If your hospital doesn't have a journal club, suggest the new graduates start one. Invite enthusiastic new graduates to be part of patient satisfaction and patient experience planning.
With these five key themes addressed, your new graduate nurses will be providing excellent patient care for years to come.