I have been a Registered Nurse for ten years. During these years, I've worked in many areas of nursing. My last position was Director of Nursing for Private Duty. I have attempted to mentor nursing students by explaining things to them that they may not have grasped in class. I remember what it felt like being a new RN. I had a lot of book knowledge but hardly any nursing skills.
I have seen experienced nurses refuse to help new nurses. I find this behavior appalling. I feel that we owe it to new nurses to teach them everything we know, so that our legacy of providing quality care is continued. Before I was DON, I usually was a charge nurse and preceptor. I encouraged new nurses to use the knowledge they had learned but also taught them nursing skills that they were unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.
Nursing is not a profession. It is a calling. We are there to provide healthcare to everyone. This healthcare must be above standard. I once went to work for a facility that did not fully orientate the nurses. They allowed new nurses to provide care to patients after only two to three weeks. As the head nurse, I asked the unit manager to please place certain nurses with experienced nurses to allow them to learn. But this never occured. I had to write so many incident reports regarding the substandard care that our patients were receiving. I actually was ashamed of this facility. I understand about nursing shortages, but seriously, let's teach the new nurses good habits to inculcate into their nursing practice. Let's teach them that all patients are our patients. I dislike the words, that isn't my patient. Let's take new nurses and even student nurses under our wings and show them the joy that nursing can bring.
As I have said, nursing is not my profession. It is my calling in life. I am tired of reading about nurses becoming burned out. If we teach them correctly the first time, they will be able to handle things.
I was very lucky when I was in nursing school. I had two nurses that I externed with. These nurses taught me everything that they could within what the law allowed. After I became a RN, I was fortunate to shadow several nurses who taught me so many things that I didn't learn in nursing school. This is the legacy we should leave to the new nurses. Let's help them reach their full potential.
As I look around at the open RN positions for most companies, I find it sad that nearly every ad states experience required. How can any nurse obtain experience if we do not invest in that nurse? So let's invest in the new nurses, teach them, guide them, mentor them, and let their superb nursing skills be the legacy we leave them.
I will respectfully disagree with you on three points. I do not feel nursing is a calling, there are many days when I feel it doesn't meet the qualifications of a profession. Burnout in nursing is NOT going tobe cured by a better orientation for new nurses, the problem is much more complex than that, and lastly put the responsibility for poor training and retention of new nurses where it belongs- on ineffective and shortsighted management that consistently under staffs, provides little to no training for preceptors, and picks the wrong nurses to be preceptors. Not everyone can or wants to teach. Nurses provide a much better learning environment for newbies when the newbie represents a chance to pass on valuable experience and not another set of challenges on top of an already unmanageable workload.
Last edit by fakebee on Jul 20, '12