Going from student nurse to professional nurse isn’t an easy transition. Many clinical nurse educators already know how challenging it can be for new nurses to get a handle on the realities of nursing. But supporting the evolution from student nurse to professional nurse isn’t just beneficial for the nurse herself — the benefits to your organization, your patients, and your team are indisputable.
Even though nurse residency programs have been around for a while, it’s still easy to underestimate their importance. Some recent studies of newly licensed RNs suggest the attrition rate at 12 months is around 10%, while others indicate turnover is as high as 15% at one year. With more people than ever having health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, and with an aging population with increasingly complex health needs, we can’t afford to lose so many new nurses each year.
It isn’t just patients that suffer. According to some nursing literature, the cost of hiring and training a new graduate nurse can be anywhere from $60,000 to $96,000. For hospitals, retaining top graduate nurse talent isn’t just an operational priority…it’s a fiscal priority as well.
For some facilities, nurse residency programs have boosted retention rates to 95% at the one-year mark. But not all residency programs are created equal. When transitioning your new nurses, it’s important to keep in mind that the way you develop your program can be the make-or-break factor in new nurse retention, job satisfaction, performance, and better patient outcomes.
It takes time and effort to develop a nurse residency program that produces measurable results. But it’s not impossible to create a program that satisfies the needs of your organization while meeting the needs of newly graduated nurses. Certain best practices help ensure your program’s success as you develop your fledgling workforce.