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Prepare for Your First Year as a Nurse

Prepare for Your First Year as a Nurse

Beth Anderson, RN

What happens after you get hired? How do you make a success of yourself?

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.

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.

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