Help!! How to retain new nurses


Hello, I am an RN that is currently going back to school for my BSN. One of my assignments is to collaborate with another nurse on a topic. Please help! What are some ideas that you have to encourage new nurses to stay at a facility? If you answer, please list your speciality and state. Thanks!!!


158 Posts

I'm on a med-surg unit in CA, and I hate my job. I'm planning to quit very soon, and here's why:

  1. I was told at my interview that my orientation would include classes. However, after I started, the guy from nursing education said they wouldn't have classes until "sometime in 2008."
  2. I asked at my interview, "If at the end of my orientation I or my preceptor feel that I need more time, can I get more time?" I was told that that would be evaluated based on the orientation checklist I completed after orientation. I asked for more time (orientation was 5 weeks), but they only gave me 2 extra days. I expressed my concerns frequently to my preceptor, and told her that I didn't feel that 5 weeks was enough, and how my friends at other hospitals got 3 months of orientation, and she said, "But you can always ask us for help." Well, the times where I've asked for help, I was told, "Sorry I can't," or "I'm busy," or most of the other RNs were also new grads and couldn't help me with what I needed because they didn't know how to do it either.
  3. I have called the woman in charge of the MS4 training (the computer system we use to print lab results, order labs, diets, etc) I was given a password, but I never got the 3-hr class on how to use the system, so I have to constantly ask the poor unit clerk to do it for me. I called that stupid woman at least 5 times and she hasn't called back once. I told my mgr, and all she said was, "Just keep calling her."

There is no real support for new grads at this hospital, and I'm not willing to risk losing my license because of poor training. Remember that checklist I mentioned in #2? I don't even know where it is right now. My preceptor only went over the first page of it with me (and there are about 8 double-sided pages) and she kept the papers, but hasn't been on the floor for the past week. I want to make a copy of it before I quit so I can cover my a** but I have to wait for her to come back since no one else knows where it is.

So how can hospitals retain new RNs? How about not throwing us under the bus, providing decent orientation, and a good support system? Also, don't put so many new grads on the same shift (I work day shift). If I need help I at least want to know that there is an experienced RN out there I can run to should I have a problem.

A new grad support group would be nice, but I don't think any hospitals in the Bay Area have those. (I've seen them advertised at Southern CA hospitals though).

I'm not the only new grad leaving either. One left about a week before I started, another one left two weeks ago, and two others are leaving next week.

Thank God I was offered a per diem job at the women's clinic where I did my graudate preceptorship! That's my "light at the end of the tunnel" right now. Unfortunately it doesn't start until Dec. 17th, but I might just quit this week or next, even if it means being without income for a few weeks. The stress that this job has caused me is not worth it, and it's not worth risking my license.

Nurse Lulu

131 Posts

Specializes in critical care.


I am a recent grad in MI,and am generally satisfied with my job in IICU (started 12-06). Here is why:

I had an awesome orientation (5 months) with 6 weeks of critical care classes,and a computer program by AACN called Essentials of Critical Care Orientation presented in systems format to complete at my own pace (about 1000 pgs of printed material I retain for reference). Regular orientation (i.e. equipment, paperwork, policies) for two weeks, and I was resourced (by myself, but with someone assigned to help me) for another two weeks on my shift

Overall, great senior staff who are very accessible, and have no problem answering my continuous (and I am sure) lengthy, boring questions. One of my preceptors threatened to go "Mama Bear" on someone treating me poorly after orientation, until I called her off

An educator who tries to find answers

And a manager (who unfortunately just quit) who used to be a nurse educator who is AWESOME and accomadated my schedule even on orientation, and alleviated my post board jitters (I called her sure I failed, asking what would happen, I didn't)

On my shift, RN's who are kind great friends who hang out after work, go to parties, weddings, etc, and we have potluck like every third weekend I work

It was so important to me to feel like I belong, like I work with people who will help me grow, and who once in a while I can even help;)

I am on an equipment committe (sp) and feel like I can contribute something too.

Sorry this is so long, but I am finally starting to feel like I have a rhythm and am feeling more confident. Things that used to bother me don't phase me anymore. While I have a TON to learn I feel like I can handle it and don't feel sick to my stomach or totally overwhelmed. Also, this forum is a great help, when feeling stessed out. People need resources!!


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