Helping New Nurses Successfully Transition into the Clinical Setting
Veronica Thompson, RN-BC, MS, FNP-BC, is on the clinical faculty in the Division of Education and Organizational Development at Montefiore Medical Center, a teaching hospital in Bronx, N.Y.
More than 28 years ago, I began my nursing journey in Jamaica, West Indies. During my career, I completed a B.S. and M.S. in Nursing and finally a Ph.D. in Education Leadership. In my role on the clinical faculty at Montefiore, I interact with a large number of new graduate registered nurses, which has increased my awareness of some of the issues they face as they move from the classroom into the clinical setting.
While conducting research for my dissertation, I learned that new registered nurses continue to face challenges, such as communicating with the members of the health team, handling the workload and time management and prioritizing as they transition into the clinical setting.
The new nurses leave the comfort of the classroom, where they are supported by their instructors, into a clinical setting where they experience fear, anxiety and feeling unprepared for the role. Clinical leaders and senior nurses should provide an environment which is nurturing and supportive for the young inexperienced nurses. These nurses are going to be our replacements someday - it is our responsibility to provide them with the tools for success.
Some ways we can assist the new nurses is to acknowledge their limitations and develop plans to help them master essential skills. Secondly, we must recognize that the new nurses are in the novice phase and require timely, well-planned orientation and a supportive post-orientation plan. Experienced nurses should mentor the new nurses and arrange for added time and activities to address their learning needs.
I can recall my first experience as a new nurse and how scared I was as I walked into a patient care area. Luckily, I had been an intern for a year, where experienced nurses mentored me and I learned the role and responsibilities of the registered nurse. This internship helped me learn essential skills - time management, prioritization and how to communicate with the health care team. All of this is so important for the new nurse to have a smooth transition into the clinical setting.
I was provided a special experience in the early years of my career and I'm committed to ensuring that same level of mentorship and care is provided here at Montefiore! We're all one big team and these nurses are the future caretakers of this community - we owe to them to make the transition as smooth as possible.