Based on several threads that I've read on here, and on my own personal experiences as a new nurse beginning my 4th month of experience, I'm seeing a general trend towards rushing new nurses into experiences, roles or responsibilities that traditionally are more "appropriate" for nurses with a little more experience. This coincides with hearing several stories by new nurses who were pushed off of orientation early, given a shortened or unstructured orientation, or no orientation whatsoever.
I would ask why the big rush to have new nurses function on the same level as nurses with years of experience, but I already know the answer - finances. They're paying you to work as a functional team member, and expect you to preform according to your payscale. Fine - I get that - but at what point do we cross the line where the costs outweigh the "cost benefits?" Pushing new nurses too quickly leads to problems on the patient side, and on the nurse side. Patient safety is put on the line by overtaxing a new nurse with extra patients, longer hours, or more responsibilities. Nurses are "burning out" quicker or quitting before they hit the 6 month mark.
None of these things are healthy even with experienced nurses, so I don't mean any disrespect for those experienced nurses who struggle with the same situations. However, new nurses aren't as "seasoned" and are more likely to make a mistake or burn out quicker.
Personally, I'm barely into my 4th month (including orientation), and I've been given more than the "maximum" patient load, expected to join committees, floated to 4 different units (despite being told new nurses aren't floated until after 6 months), and taken advantage of with scheduling.
Just opening this up for a general discussion. I'm interested in everyone's personal stories relating to the topic, as well as your views and opinions.
Adding to what the previous posters have said (great posts, BTW) ...
I believe another thing that should happen is that we need to change the pay scales so that new grads make less money while they are on orientation and not "pulling their weight" on the team. That's part of the problem. Employers aren't willing/able to pay for the expensive on-the-job training required by new grads while paying them as if they were functioning at a full professional level. But so far, that idea has not been culturally acceptable within nursing.
I know that idea is controversial, but nurses can't have it both ways. If people want to be paid salaries close to what nurses with 2 or 3 years of experience make, they need to function at that level and "be worth it" to the employer. If they need 6 months to a year of special training, reduced responsibilities, etc., they have to expect to be paid less. Medical residents and fellows make considerably less than attending physicians, law firm associates make a lot less than partners, etc. New school teachers are on the same pay scale as experienced ones, but they are assigned their own classrooms on Day #1 with NO preceptorship time. Nursing needs to decide which model they want to use -- the one in which new grads are ready-to-go on day #1 and deserve a full professional salary ... or the one in which the new grads needs additional training and transition time and does not deserve a full professional salary. We can't have it both ways.
This idea is particularly pertinent because of the high number of new grads who plan to work in the first job for only a year or two before moving on to something else. Why should an employer provide a full professional salary + a lot of expensive education to someone not functioning at a full professional level who does not plan to stay in that job long enough for it to be a worthwhile investment to an employer?
We need to look at a new model ... with different pay expectations to match the level of responsibility new grads are prepared to take ... the type of training they need ... and the likelihood of their staying in their first job for a substantial period of time.
Last edit by llg on Jul 11, '13
Quote from Altra
The development of clinical judgement takes time and repetition. Maturity contributes greatly too, which is why I advocate for the BSN as a minimum educational point of entry. It is unfair and unproductive to expect a 20-year old to have the same ability to assume responsibility for self-learning and cope with the intellectual/emotional challenges of patient care that an older nurse brings to the table.
From reading these boards it appears that many current ASN/ADN students are older students with work/life experience and often have previous degrees, and that many ASN/ADN prepared nurses were older students with work/life experience when they received their training. This was also the case in the ADN program I graduated from 18 years ago. I don't see a persuasive argument for a BSN being required for entry in to practice.
Last edit by Susie2310 on Jul 11, '13