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6 Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Hospital RN

6 Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Hospital RN

Lisette Hilton | Monster Contributing Writer

The first year on the job is often the toughest for new nursing graduates, especially those who work in hospitals. In fact, new nurse graduates account for more than half of the turnover rate in some hospitals, according to a study published in 2007 by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing researchers.

“There really are multiple reasons for [the first-year exodus],” says Patricia Benner, RN, PhD, professor at the University of California, San Francisco and a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. “One is that nursing practice is incredibly complex. Over the past 60 years, the transfer of responsibility to nursing from medicine has been incredible. I think society doesn’t typically recognize that.”

Because the sickest patients are in the hospital, hospital RNs need good clinical judgment and the ability to recognize when a patient needs immediate intervention — challenges that are especially pronounced in a nurse’s first year of employment.

Would You Survive Your 1st Year as a Nurse?

1. What is most important to you?

Making money
Saving lives
Getting great benefits
Being happy
Making a difference

So what can you do to make your transition from nursing student to working nurse easier and your first years on the job more satisfying? Here are some issues to ask about and consider before and after taking the job.

Ask About First-Year Nurse Turnover Rates

High turnovers indicate how the employer treats first-year nurses, Benner says. Turnovers higher than 20 percent are generally considered high in the industry.

Find Out About Orientation and Preceptor Programs

A preceptor is a teacher and coach who helps nurses become oriented and familiar with a facility’s routines, procedures and people, says Patricia Hooper Kyriakidis, RN, MSN, PhD, a nurse consultant and researcher and president of Practice Solutions, a Hendersonville, Tennessee-based health care consultancy. New nurses are more likely to stay if they have an experienced and helpful preceptor. That’s why you should ask, “Will a preceptor be available on my shift after the orientation to answer questions and help with clinical decision making?”

Inquire About Support

Query the nurse manager about the level of clinical, social and emotional support available for new nurses. This support includes having experienced nurses on hand to help debrief a new nurse once he experiences a tragedy at work, such as a death. That debriefing must happen the day the event occurs, not a week later, Kyriakidis says.

Next: Observe the Unit >>

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    3 months ago


  • Nurse-jackie-showtime_max50


    over 3 years ago


    One of the best tips to keep in mind in order to survive your first year as a nursing graduate is to make a good first impression and to keep good relations with your fellow employees. I read a Drug Rehab nurse's blog and this was her opinion as well. In every field of work that deals primarily with people, you'll always need the support of your colleagues, that's why it's best to remember to be nice to the people you work with, it will pay off.

  • Deployed_dec_02_-_mar_03_083_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Oh how true most of this article is

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    todo eso es cierto

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    Let me add one more suggestions to the list. Do NOT come in to the hospital and be a know-it-all. We have had so many new grads come in and feel like they need to show the seasoned RNs how they learned to do a task. A group of new grads was so obnoxious and rude that they kind of got snubbed. I notice many of them did not stay long. And, yes, the seasoned nurses need to be kind and patient with the new grads. It needs to be a win-win situation for all.

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