New Nursing Programs Geared Toward Preparing and Retaining Nurses

Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media , September 10, 2009

Studies show that up to 60% of new nurse graduates leave their first job within their first year, and many hospitals are focusing on ways to help new nurses through the difficult transition from nursing school to novice nurse to competent, confident practitioner.

Rapid City (SD) Regional Hospital is one such facility looking to help its new grads succeed and remain with the organization. The hospital hires an average of 100 nurse graduates every year, but within two years, 25% of those nurses are no longer with the facility. With the help of a recent grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Regional Hospital has launched a two-part program to provide guidance to the new nurses.

The first part of the program is a pilot involving the two university nursing schools. The schools will each pick one class of eight students to participate in a program where they will have extra opportunities to practice clinical skills. The students will work with nurses at Regional Hospital; two students will be paired with a nurse and faculty members will oversee the process.

This part of the program is designed to give students more time with nurses to practice clinical skills, which it is hoped will help them gain confidence and have a more positive first year when they eventually start work as a nurse.

The second part of the program is a new, year-long residency program for each newly-hired nurse. New nurses will be paired with a mentor, who will be someone other than their supervisor or preceptor.

Sarah Kearns is an editor for HCPro in the Quality and Patient Safety Group. Contact Sarah at

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