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Amid Nurse Shortage, Hospitals Focus on Retention

Amid Nurse Shortage, Hospitals Focus on Retention

AP

February 12, 2009

MIAMI – Newly minted nurse Katie O’Bryan was determined to stay at her first job at least a year, even if she did leave the hospital every day wanting to quit.

She lasted nine months. The stress of trying to keep her patients from getting much worse as they waited, sometimes for 12 hours, in an overwhelmed Dallas emergency room was just too much. The breaking point came after paramedics brought in a child who’d had seizures. She was told he was stable and to check him in a few minutes, but O’Bryan decided not to wait. She found he had stopped breathing and was turning blue.

‘‘If I hadn’t gone right away, he probably would have died,‘’ O’Bryan said. ‘‘I couldn’t do it anymore.’’

Many novice nurses like O’Bryan are thrown into hospitals with little direct supervision, quickly forced to juggle multiple patients and make critical decisions for the first time in their careers. About 1 in 5 newly licensed nurses quits within a year, according to one national study.

That turnover rate is a major contributor to the nation’s growing shortage of nurses. But there are expanding efforts to give new nursing grads better support. Many hospitals are trying to create safety nets with residency training programs.

‘‘It really was, ‘Throw them out there and let them learn,’’’ said University of Portland nursing professor Diane Vines. The university now helps run a yearlong program for new nurses.

‘‘This time around, we’re a little more humane in our treatment of first-year grads, knowing they might not stay if we don’t do better,’’ she said.

The national nursing shortage could reach 500,000 by 2025, as many nurses retire and the demand for nurses balloons with the aging of baby boomers, according to Peter Buerhaus of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The nursing professor is author of a book about the future of the nursing work force.

Nursing schools have been unable to churn out graduates fast enough to keep up with the demand, which is why hospitals are trying harder to retain them.

Medical school grads get on-the-job training during formal residencies ranging from three to seven years. Many newly licensed nurses do not have a similar protected period as they build their skills and get used to a demanding environment.


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    MursePaolo

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I feel the exact same way. I'm a new grad with 47 patients. Yep, you read that right, forty-seven (capacity 56). I got 3 days of orientation and am currently in my 4th week of work, facing a hospital-wide federal survey next week. Hurray... I can honestly say I'm slowly losing my passion for nursing, but am holding on as tight as I can because I really do want to help people and I absolutely love seeing progress in them. The question is, how long can I stand this before I smash my car into a wall after work?

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    bookishfilly

    over 5 years ago

    58 comments

    At least someone finally wised up and is working on keeping new grads instead of throwing them to the wolves. I have been nursing for almost 32 years and I can truthfully say that many good nurses have been lost this way. Every healthcare facility should have a program for internship with new grads and if the don't experienced nurses should mentor the new grads to give them the skills and confidence to be a good nurse and provide safe, quality care. The shortage is bad enough without losing new grads.

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    Prismofwhim

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    after thirty years of nursing in many venues..............do more with less until you are doing everything with nothing..............it burns out the good nurses as they see how it affects their ability to truely care for their clients.

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    Emmatol

    over 5 years ago

    186 comments

    I HAD THESAME FEELING AND ON THE VERGE OF GETTING A NEW JOB IN ANOTHER FIELD BEFORE I WAS ENCOURAGED. IT'S SIMPLY DUE TO MEASURE OF CUTTING COST OF NEW EMPLOYEES. THERE ARE FFEW HOSPITALS WITH NURSING RESIDENCY PROGRAMMES AND WHERE WE HAVE THEY UNDERPAY NURSES LEAVING MOST NURSES WITH THE OPTION OF TAKING NEW CHALLENGES AND MOST TIMES GETTING FATIQUED BEYOND LIMIT.
    I HOPE THERE WILL BE A POSITIVE CHANGE TO THIS AS OUR PROFESSIONAL BODY CAN INTERFERE OR SOLICIT FOR BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS FOR US...........ESPECIALLY IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.

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    MissingNursing

    over 5 years ago

    18 comments

    THIS SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME. I WAS MOVED TO ICU WITHOUT EVEN ONE DAY OF TRAINING AND NO ONE WOULD HELP, SO I WOULDN'T EVEN GET LUNCH OR A BREAK. I LASTED ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF. NOW I AM TRYING TO GET BACK INTO NURSING IN GEORGIA AFTER BEING OUT FOR FIVE YEARS, AND I CAN'T GET MY FOOT IN THE DOOR, EVEN THOUGH I AM DOING 100'S OF HOURS OF CEU'S TO LEARN EVERYTHING NEW THAT I CAN. DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS? IF THERE IS A SHORTAGE, WHY AREN'T NOW TRAINED ICU NURSES GETTING HIRED? I WAS A GREAT NURSE, I WON AWARDS, VERY HIGH PATIENT SATISFACTION SCORES CONSISTANTLY, BUT NOW I CAN'T EVEN GET AN INTERVIEW. WHAT GIVES? I DON'T WANT TO GO BACK TO ICU, BUT WANT TO GET INTO MOTHER BABY, PACU, OR PLASTIC SURGERY.

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    evarunnr

    over 5 years ago

    10 comments

    staff shortages have always been a major concern in the nursing industry. most nurses enter the field because they do care. they want to assist people in their "weakest moments". however, when you are assigned to 20 + patients there is no way that you can give them quality care in their time of need. At best your care borders on negligence to your patients due to your acceptance of nurse:patient ratio. the new nurses that are coming out of the schools are not prepared for the onslaught of the healthcare industry as it stands. management is unable to be creative with staffing and education due to constraints on their own time trying to make the healthcare industry into a hospitality industry. Patient safety is jeopardized due to JCAHO IHI and others imposing regulations, finger-pointing, and paper driven checklists to meet the superficial plane of "excellent care". despite all the "safety nets" that are being put in place, there remains replication of charting, mismanagement of ancillary departments, and out of control physicians that demand extension of lives without truly working for the benefit of the patient. So as we watch nursing shortages developing and expanding into a crisis situation, we need to incorporate the entire healthcare pyramid to retain, train, and nurture our nurses back to the real focus, the patient.

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    drsigman

    over 5 years ago

    10 comments

    As long as hospitals continue to attempt to cut costs by limited staff numbers, new nurses will continue to burn out and move on. Experienced nurses are doing it, why shouldn't we expect the same from newbies. I've seen it too many times; you've got the newbie following a preceptor and suddenly the department gets overwhelmed and the charge nurse or supervisor is asking if the newbie could "take one or two of the easy patients". Management and hospital administrators are about as clueless as the banking industry when it comes to staff. This fast, faster, fastest mentality that has permeated healthcare, in part egged on by JCAHO and attorneys, is killing even the best and brightest out there. I can only pray that the current economy is going to force all of us to SLOW DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! Start giving our patients the care they truly deserve, at a pace that means we can recognize when someone doesn't understand education or discharge instructions, which then means we also have the TIME to nuture our young'uns so they can feel more comfortable in the enviroment. Until then, we're going to continue to shoot ourselves in the foot and kill our patients in our quest for speed.

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    NotManyofMe

    over 5 years ago

    6 comments

    I think it should be mandated across the board for new nurses to do a minimum 6 months residency at any facility. Wether that be hospital or nursing home etc. I do home healthcare as an LPN and i hear some absolutely horrific stories from home health patients that had prior nursing care from a new grad. One nurse unfortunately almost lost a child due to her inexperience with pediatric trachs and ventilators... Child had a microfiber nose on the trach and inside the nose is a honeycomb mesh microfilter. Trach mist are to not be placed on them because it turns the filter to mush causing an obstruction. That is something that I even wouldn't have known if I didnt do my homework on pediatric vents and trachs before getting into pediatric care. It was not the nurses fault it was the company she worked for. They will take new grads and throw them into homes with sick children and not provide adequate training on the case or division of that care i.e. pediatrics, post surgery etc. Fortunately the child is ok, but the nurse was so traumatized she left the field entirely!! I think home health is even worse than hospitals because there is a lack of regulation and communication. And the agencies will take anyone without doing a thorough training and background check.. Also I know for a fact it can be difficult for a new nurse to confront a anal doctor who is full of GOD complex when they feel the doctor is going in the wrong direction for a patient. Alot of new nurses usually conform to what the doctor says goes mentality instead of being the advocate for their patients, not knowing that even when the doctor makes mistakes they are still liable for giving that patient what the doctor assigned... But we will prevail as nurses and one day we will be the ones that get seniority over doctors...It's past due!!!

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    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    here in the philippines,the scenario is worst than you could imagine.we are assigned to 1 nurse per 20 patients.we do all the jobs and guess what, we are underpaid.we recieve about 500 pesos per day thats $10 in 8 hours work. but we are used to it because we are really didicated not for monetary gains but for caring people especialy at their weakest moment.let me share you what i wrote about nursing...
    Being a nurse isn't about grades..
    it's about bieng who we are..

    No book can teach us how to cry with a patient..

    No class can teach us how to tell a family
    that their loveone have died or are dying..

    No professor can teach us how to find
    dignity in giving someone a bedbath

    A nurse is not about the medications
    ,charting...
    Its about being able to love and care
    people when they are at their weakest moments.

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