Many new graduate nurses will soon be beginning their new careers with you. Many of them will have relocated from a different state or country so that they can work for you.
Several new grads are paired with preceptors or mentors but these people are not the only ones responsible for your new nurses growth and development. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a team of experienced medical professionals to nurture a new graduate RN.
You have an opportunity to mold these people and contribute to the future of the nursing profession in a positive and proactive way. Nurture, support, and teach — New grads nurses are essential to our “healthy” future.
Welcome them into the profession with open arms and open hearts.
Here are some suggestions as to how to help your new grad RN’s through their first days on the job:
Make a point of introducing yourself. Welcome your new grad RN’s to the unit and create an environment where they are comfortable to ask questions so they can learn and grow. Introduce them to the staff on the unit. A warm initial greeting goes a long way toward making someone feel welcome and part of the team.
Invite a new graduate to have lunch with you. Learn more about your new coworker and share a little about yourself. This will make them feel welcome and that you actually care about them and in doing so it will create and atmosphere of respect and understanding.
Share a few memories of your own first day out of university and on a job in the “real world”. This will enforce the point that everyone has to start somewhere, even someone as experienced as you.
If you belong to your state nursing association or a related professional group, invite a new grad to come to a meeting with you as a guest. Introduce him or her to officers and other members and convey what you get out of membership. Encourage the new graduate to join, and facilitate the process by supplying an application form. Support a new graduate’s professional development.
When the opportunity presents itself, fill a new graduate in on all the unwritten rules of the unit and the facility — all those little things that only come with experience that you wish someone had told you when you first got started. Sometimes this information is as valuable as developing clinical skills and learning where all the supplies are.
Occasionally offer assistance before being asked. Perhaps stick your head in the door of a patient room and say something like, “How’s it going? Anything I can do to help?” Just making the offer can help make a new graduate feel more relaxed and confident. It also makes new graduates feel that someone is looking out for them.
Give new graduates some positive feedback, no matter how small. Say something like, “You did a good job today” or “You’re going to make a great nurse” or “You handled that situation very well.” Encouragement goes a long way toward keeping someone enthusiastic about the facility.
A warm smile even when passing your new grad in the hallway can make a positive impact and all the difference in someone’s day. Whenever appropriate, mention some tips and advice you’ve learned along the way that make your job easier. Share your wisdom and insight. Helping those less experienced than you also reminds you of how far you’ve come in your own career. There is great satisfaction and joy in passing on your knowledge to those who will follow in your footsteps.