Do you remember what it was like when you first graduated nursing school and starting working as a Registered Nurse? The transition for new nurse graduates is one of tremendous pressure filled with uncontrollable emotions. New nurses have to adjust to thinking critically in the middle of the night when they are used to sleeping. They have to adjust to the physical demands of twelve-hour shifts, mandatory overtime, and heavy patient assignments. They also have to learn to deal with the emotional rollercoaster of watching a patient pass away while they maintain composure and offer support and strength to the family.
Many hospitals have mentor programs for new nurses where they assign a new nurse to an experienced nurse. This relationship is great for the new nurse to learn the policies, procedures, and skills necessary to work independently. However, is it possible for the experienced nurse to provide the new nurse with all the support he or she needs during this transition period? Can the experienced nurse completely relate to what they new nurses is going through? An online-support group for new nurses to share their experiences would greatly benefit the nursing profession. Here is why:
1. The online format would facilitate nurses working all shifts. They could log on at their own convenience.
2. The support group would allow new nurses to share their fears, frustrations, and emotions with others who are going through the same thing at the same time.
3. The new nurses could support each other by sharing stress busters, diet, exercise, and work-life balance tips.
4. The support group could help nurse administrators and educators create more effective orientation programs.
5. The support group could create unity and ignite the profession during a time of tremendous changes and pressures.
6. The support group could potentially prevent new nurses from leaving the profession. We cannot afford to lose a single nurse.
I believe that all nurses could benefit from each other’s support. However, I believe that the new nurses are the most vulnerable, and they need to nurture each other. Now that we have the benefit of online technology, we should use it to our advantage. What do others think about this idea?