Question about "Hospital New Grad Programs"

  1. Hi
    I am graduating in May 2007, and I will take my NCLEX exam shortly thereafter. I was looking at a few new grad programs in the Los Angeles area. I don't want to make a mistake and I am a bit confused on which one is the best. I want to start my new nursing career on the right foot. The following hospitals all offer "New Grad Programs"
    UCLA, Cedar-Sinai, St Johns Health Center, USC Hospital, Children hospitals, Memorial Care, Good Samaritan Hospital.
    What should I be looking for the most?
    How do I assess the various programs?
    Money, length of the commitment, benefits, the hospital itself etc....?
    Should I go on every interview and then make a decision?
    On what basis did you make your decision when you went for your first job?
    Does anyone have experiences working for the hospital I mentioned above?
    Thank you in advance for your help.
    Last edit by nativa on Jan 15, '07
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Daytonite
    hi, doublejeopardy. . .i was one of several unit managers who was part of a new grad orientation program at a teaching facility at another location in the u.s. (not california). you should be going to each one of these hospitals and talking with the recruiters and asking questions about their orientation programs. you will find that every hospital is going to be different in how they tailor their program. take notes and then your job will be to decide which you like the best. i can only tell you that cedar-sinai is supposed to have an excellent reputation for taking very good care of their employees. st. johns i know of. it is in santa monica, is very busy and is known for servicing celebs and the wealthy as well as their own community. if you don't cotton to the concept of smiling and giving good customer service don't think about going to st. johns. this is where gov. schwarzenegger went recently to have his broken leg repaired. i am not familiar with the others.

    here's how our new grad orientation for those working on the medical/surgical group of units worked. the new grads started their orientation in an intensive 2-week orientation by the nurse educators where they were given the low down on policy and procedures that the hospital wanted them to follow. during that time they learned the ins and outs of how things worked at the medical center. after that initial 2-week orientation they entered a 10-week new grad program. they worked the day shift 7am to 3:30pm monday through friday on their assigned units with a preceptor. the preceptors were specially chosen and trained to work with new grads and followed the same work schedule. (we were on the baylor plan so we had the same monday to friday staff there all week because they had the weekends off).

    now, this is the feature that i think made our program desirable to many. every friday was a non-clinical day for the new grads. our committee and the nursing educators had a daylong program of learning planned for them. based on the verbal and written feedback we were getting from the preceptors, we repeated any policy and procedure information we felt was necessary, we presented special topics of interest the grads had expressed knowing about, we got doctors or other department managers to come and talk with the grads about special topics (remember we were a teaching facility so we had lots of resources), we designed scavenger hunts and games for them to help learn about the facility as they were transitioning into their new roles as employees, we had a big group talk session each week where we invited older experienced nurses we knew to be open and helpful to sit with the new grads to talk about some of the problems they were experiencing on their clinical units and offer advice and we fed them a hearty lunch. the lunch i know about because it was my job to go and get it each week! our budget allowed us to go to outside resources and did we ever! we got takeout from some of the best places in that city.

    the final line was that our grads stayed longer at our facility and that was the goal. it's very expensive for a facility to take on new grads (any new employee for that matter) and put them through an orientation. any new employee is not that productive for a while because of the learning time required in picking up on the way a facility works and its policies. add to that the extra time that has to be allowed for a brand new nurse to the profession who is going to need more time just to deal with the aspect of being a nurse. smart employers see this orientation time and money expended as an investment in their future workforce. desperate ones are just trying to fill holes in their schedules at the lowest costs in $$$ and give little to no regard to the human emotion aspects.

    so, ask these recruiters how many of their new grads are still working for their facilities after 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? 3 years? longer? that is going to tell you a lot. new grads who are staying in their first jobs for a couple of years are, in general, happy there and have gotten pretty good treatment. ask them what kind of criticism they have gotten from former new grads about their orientation program. ask if you can have the opportunity to speak briefly with one of the new grads from their last orientation, as well as one who has been with the hospital for a couple of years. if they've got as good an orientation program as they're promoting, they should have no trouble finding these nurses.

    go to every single one of these hospitals and hear them out. they need you. i don't know if you are already in the l.a. area or coming here from out of the area, but l.a. hospitals are in desperate need of nurses who are willing to commit to be employed. you shouldn't have a problem getting a job. your problem, as i think you already know, is going to be figuring out which one is going to suit your needs the best. good luck!
  4. by   nativa
    Hi Daytonite
    I really appreciate your answer, it is a great help.
    Again one millions thanks
  5. by   rags
    You got some excellent advise but I want to add that I also paid close attention to the nurses working when I got my facility tours. I looked at visibility of resources (if you can see or find it on a tour it is pretty handy to find when you are rushing) and I watched the general attitudes of the nurses themselves. Were they happy? Did they seem to have good communication and friendly interactions with each other? This to me says a lot about a facility. If the nurses seem happy there is generally a reason. Likewise for if they don't.

    You haveto not only enjoy what you are doing in any given job but you also have to enjoy the environment around you. Pay close attention to it.

    I agree that you should go to each of these interviews. Weigh everything out, and like mentioned above... TAKE NOTES! If you don't want to take a pad and pencil with you, as soon as you get back in your car write down a list of everything you want to remember {both good and bad} as well as what you observed. This should help you in your decision down the line.

    My orientation was very similar to the one mentioned above. I also thought ALL GN's got their RN wage at time of hire. I didn't realize I was lucky too get that until after reading various posts on here. I don't think it would have mattered in my case though. I chose the hospital I did for their program and because I felt VERY comfortable on the unit I was interviewing for during my tour of the facility. All the nurses seemed to be not only enjoying their jobs at this facility but each other as well. We are not referred to as 'co-workers' here we are 'friends'. In fact, my preceptor often says, "if you have a question or need something, go grab one of your friends and ask them to assist you. I'll bet they will jump at the chance..." That is the general attitude portrayed on a regular basis and it is very contagious.

    Good luck in your hunt! The glitz and glamor might be nice but remember it is the long term you are looking at. :wink2:

    rags

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