Perhaps at no time is the transition to a new job more vulnerable than when a new nurse grad takes his or her first position. Entering a new career with seemingly all-of-a-sudden clinical responsibilities and an unfamiliar work culture with its own set of social and professional rules is a double whammy that can be a challenge for even the most confident grad.
“It felt like one of those horror movies, where the length of the parking lot/sidewalk/hallway was endless. Like I was walking to my doom. I was terrified because I knew I didn't know anything,” recalled one nurse. “The extremes in emotion tend to sear themselves into your brain, making them impossible to forget.”
Bring back any memories?
While a certain amount of angst is normal and arguably even a healthy first-day feeling, hospitals can encourage and empower new grads by effectively onboarding them from the get-go. An oft-used business management term, “onboarding” is orientation-plus. In addition to showing employees the lay of the land, onboarding invests new hires emotionally into the hospital’s mission, values and staff.
“The onboarding process is crucial for new graduate nurses who face an enormous change process as they transition from student nurse to independent RNs,” explains HealthLeaders Media. The article then goes on to specify four phases of the reality shock new nurse grads typically experience after being hired:
Onboarding supports new hires through every step of the process and aims to ensure they make it to the resolution phase, which can take months. Once there, onboarded nurses are more likely to adopt a positive outlook aligned with the hospital’s mission and values.
In short, onboarding helps new grads start off their career on the right foot.
To successfully onboard a new nurse grad into your hospital, consider these four steps.
Onboarding is an investment, no doubt, but one that will hopefully pay off in shaky new nurses transforming into confident, engaged nursing professionals.
Need an evidence-based online resource that will quickly allow you to streamline orientation of new grads to ensure clinical competency? The Lippincott Professional Development Toolkit will be releasing in Q4 2015. Stay tuned to LippincottSolutions.com for further information, coming soon!
For more information on how academic educators and healthcare institutions can work together to prepare tomorrow's nursing workforce while improving retention and patient care, click here to download our FREE White Paper entitled "New Nurse Preparedness: Perceptions From School and Practice."