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Reducing the Education Gap in New Graduate Med-Surg RNs

Credits: None available.


Hospitals have been utilizing a nurse residency programs to increase nurse retention and competency in new graduates for years (Walsh, 2018). Most programs lasting approximately one year in length, with a set checklist to focus on a specific set of skills most desired by the unit of orientation. Without the specific goals and needs of the floor addressed new graduates can struggle in the acute care setting. Using a generalized medical-surgical orientation model for new graduate nurses leaves large gaps in knowledge when working on a post-op general surgery floor, leading to a deficit in preparedness and confidence in new graduates nursing care of these patients. By organizing a general surgery class for new hires and including specific forms for surgical patient checkoffs during orientation, we may increase confidence and preparedness in our new hires. Pre-surveys were administered to nurses who had gone through a non-specific med-surg residency to establish a baseline knowledge after the original program. New graduates were asked to rate their level of comfort with the care and needs of common surgeries on the unit using a Likert scale. These nurses then attended a focused class provided by experts for the field of general surgery and the experienced nurses of the unit. Using lecture, hands-on activities, and case studies, a new set of knowledge was given to the group. New graduates were given written and verbal education for the specific patient population of their unit. Written material was added to the new-hire orientation packet, as well as a specified general surgery list check off for common surgeries on the unit. After attending, each nurse was given the same Likert scale survey as prior. These findings showed an increase of overall understanding of the care and needs of the general surgery patient. This led to the conclusion that a focused general surgery orientation can benefit the overall comfort and knowledge of newly hired graduates.

Evidence-based references
1. Perron, T., Gascoyne, M., Kallakavumkal, T., Kelly, M., & Demagistris, N. (2019). Effectiveness of nurse residency programs. Journal of Nursing Practice Applications & Reviews of Research, 9(2), 48-52.
2. Walsh, A. L. (2018). Nurse Residency Programs and the Benefits for New Graduate Nurses. Pediatric Nursing, 44(6).



Credits: None available.

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