I graduated over 20 years ago and what we got from experienced nurses on the floor was plain old mentoring and support. It wasn't fancy; it was going out for pizza after a grueling evening. It was personal support, advice, inclusion.
Are those kind of things still happening? For the new grads, what would be helpful from experienced nurses who work where you work?
What happens when a new grad/new hire becomes what I call a "target"? (Someone who other nurses disparage, disdain and view as hopelessly incompetent.)
What differentiates new grads/new hires asking for help in a way that makes them seem as willing learners VS hopelessly clueless?
Are mentoring programs administrated by hospitals helpful to new grads? (I heard a horror story from a new grad who was being mentored by another new grad who had previously worked on the unit she was now an RN on and it was awful. It was apparent that the "mentor" was too inexperienced and more intent on blowing her own horn than supporting a new learner.)
How can we nurture our young instead of eat them???
Jul 31, '99
Using the hospital where I work as an example, probably the best way to prevent us experienced RN's from "eating our young" is to not make us work perpetually short staffed in an environment where the morale is lower than a snakes belly then toss us an unsuspecting, inexperienced new grad to "mentor" and "orient." We don't have the time or the energy to take this "newbie" under our wing, when we can barely take care of our patients and the heaps of paper work required to document every little thing we do, proving that we do it in a "teamwork" approach. Our hospital is small and we do not have a formal orientation program or mentor program. It's kind of sink or swim. And it's very, very sad. Sad for us, our patients, and these poor new grads who may be wonderful nurses some day, if only someone had the time...
Aug 1, '99
Kel, I couldn't agree with you more. The hospital I left in CA. had us frequently staffed with at least 5 inexperienced nurses in our ICU and CCU. Some nights we didn't have a clinical supervisior some there were 3 of us designated as relief charge. Many nights there would be 4 or 5 of us with experience to staff a total of 21 critical care beds with the rest with anywhere from a month or 2 to 6 months experience because they were new grads from a program where they never learned to start IVs. So not only did we have to watch our patients but them and their patients as well because orientation was where supplies were kept.
I "oriented" a float nurse one night who wanted to become a critical care nurse so she got to transfer to us to educate. Could she be a little "over exuberant" at times? Yes. She made a few of them crazy asking a lot of questions so they would give me a hard time saying it was my fault she was there. All I could think was you all complain about not enough of us and here is someone who WANTS to learn and all you can do is complain. I was glad to be her resource buddy. Too many inexperienced nurses don't want to ask questions because they've been made to feel stupid in the past for asking things. Of course this is my opinion, I could be wrong.
If Ya' Don't Love The Blues, Ya' Got A Hole In Your Soul
Aug 1, '99
Mentors are great people to have and use. The proble with mentor programs is that sometimes the best person to be a mentor is not the mentor. I think it takes a special type of person to be a mentor. The characteristics of a mentor are not learned nor taught. I think that mentor programs idealy can be better but realisticly have a hard time becoming better.
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