1. Lockhart, Lisa MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Article Content

The transition into professional practice for our new graduate nurses can be a daunting experience. I clearly remember my first job as a new grad. I was excited, apprehensive, and terrified. The nurses on the unit were also young and had only 1 to 2 years of experience themselves. They did their best to be supportive and mentor me in my role. I honestly believe the experience was stressful for all of us.

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I remember that I was one of three new graduates hired for the unit and we were full of questions. I think back to that time and wonder what could have been done better. As a seasoned nurse and nurse leader now 36 years later, I have some definite ideas about what could have made the experience smoother for the unit, the preceptors, and us.


I understand that the young nurses precepting me had no formal education on the process of being an effective preceptor. They were still building their tool box of skills, as was I, and struggled to teach me more than the basic "ropes" of survival. After 1 year on the unit, I remember wondering what I had gotten myself into. I wanted to be a nurse since I was a young girl, but I just felt exhausted and overwhelmed, questioning my career choice.


I now know there are many tools and techniques that could have bolstered me and others when we first started out. Nurses who participate in new graduate programs that facilitate the initial months (or longer) of practice have higher retention rates and satisfaction in their roles. And programs that prepare preceptors and mentors to have meaningful interactions with new graduates enhance the transition process and improve role satisfaction.


In this issue, we have a wonderful article by Gloria M. Loera, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, on the experienced nurse's role in transitions to practice (see page 10). Dr. Loera discusses several important techniques to enrich the new graduate transition process, such as reflection, communication, and team building. Her article offers an insightful look into how to use reflection tools to self-evaluate our responses toward a situation and communication techniques to boost the learning experience. It also considers TeamSTEPPS 2.0-the structural components of a multidisciplinary team and how they interact.


This article is a worthwhile read, especially during the ongoing pandemic when our structure has changed considerably. Staffing shortages are more pronounced than ever, and hospitals are struggling to decrease turnover and retain employees. Nurses are leaving the profession in substantial numbers. We must do a better job of mentoring, coaching, and precepting our valuable nursing workforce. Often, the nurses thrust into preceptor roles are young and inexperienced themselves. Investing in education to strengthen our communication skills will help us make positive strides in our collaborations. These skills are beneficial for nurses at all levels of practice. Nursing made Incredibly Easy! continues to support the journey to make our work environment better, increase our levels of engagement, and assist us in becoming more efficacious as professionals.

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