By Christine Whitmarsh
The national shortage of nurses has definitely been making headlines lately, as the media works to cover the staffing challenge and possible solutions from all angles. An Associated Press article today discussed what hospitals are doing to retain new and veteran nurses. The article discussed how, on average, 1 in 5 “new grads” quit their hospital nursing jobs within the first year. Nurse managers and experts in the field discussed how new graduate training and orientation programs are being revamped to provide more support for new nurses, with the hope of retaining them. Hospitals have found that it is far more economical to put in the extra time to properly train and acclimate new grads, than it is to risk losing them and pay the high cost of rehiring.
I was personally thrilled to read that hospitals and nursing administrators having recognized this need and are stepping up to solve it. I remember being a new grad and facing similar fears and insecurities mentioned by new graduate nurses interviewed in the AP article. There is such a vast amount of information to learn when you’re tossed into the deep end of hospital nursing for the first time. Nursing school, no matter how thorough and comprehensive the program is, simply lays the foundation as far as I’m concerned. Doctors have extensive internship and residency programs to prepare them to practice independently. I’m glad that a similar approach is now being considered for hospital nursing orientation programs.
There is also a period of adjustment that travel nurses face with each new assignment. I can’t help but wonder if, depending on the facility and job description, travel nurses often feel a little like new grads over and over again. A career in travel nursing is filled with exciting challenges and opportunities. Thankfully travel RNs have the support of their travel nursing company to back them up so they can enjoy all the new experiences that this career offers.
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.