Archive for April, 2013

Oh The Life of a new graduate RN!

April 10th, 2013 by Melissa Nelson '10

Hey everyone!!!!!!

The past couple of weeks have been very exciting! I started my first RN job. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse in one of the local city hospitals.  This hospital has over 4000 deliveries a year and is known for its specialty in high risk pregnancies.  It has been absolutely amazing! I have learned so much within the 5 weeks I have been there.

Being a new graduate RN, having support is essential to you being successful within your first year. I love the fact that my hospital is part of an accredited nurse residency program.  The length of nurse residency programs varies;however in my hospital it is for a full year.  The purpose of the nurse residency program is to help  transition a new graduate RN  from a novice learner to a competent provider.  During these nurse residency programs,  new graduate RNs ,like myself,  meet regularly with nurse educators and clinical nurse specialists where we can discuss various trials and tribulations that new RNs face once in the workforce.  We are taught about the importance of using evidence based practice in our nursing care. We are provided with additional opportunities to perfect our nursing & critical thinking skills. As well as being provided with resources and support to have a successful transition into nursing.I am so grateful to be apart of a nurse residency program. Being able to share my experiences with new RNs and learning from one another’s experience is beneficial, not only for  my practice, but for my wellbeing .

So as I mentioned before I am working on a Labor and Delivery floor. When you are new to practice and starting in a new speciality, you are given 12-15 weeks of orientation on the floor.  Orientation consists of attending a week long hospital orientation( depending if you are a new hire to the hospital system). The remaining portion of your orientation takes place on your floor. Whether you are a new RN or an experienced RN,  a preceptor is assigned to you . This preceptor is an RN who works on the floor. The preceptor takes you underneath his/her wing and pretty much shows you how to be an RN on that floor. Since I am a new nurse with no experience, my orientation is 15 weeks long.  If you are an experienced RN starting on a new floor, your orientation will usually be about 8 weeks. I am very grateful that my orientation is long! I have heard of other hospitals where orientation is only 8 weeks for a new RN!  Don’t get me wrong, this may work for some specialities, but for Labor and Delivery  8 weeks isn’t a lot. I think it is important that people understand that being a new to practice nurse,  hospitals must provide new graduate RNs with enough orientation because that is the key to have a successful 1st year as an RN. Nursing school does help however, it is your first RN job that truly teaches you how to be an RN.

My floor is amazing. My preceptor is fantastic and my co-workers are just AWESOME! I am very fortunate to be on a floor where they truly support new to practice RNs.  Working 12 hour shifts can be a bit tiresome, but the trade off is I get four days off!! I think my biggest issue now is just time management and soaking up all the information I am learning.  I know I must be patient and in due time everything will fall into place. However, I will say I do not regret my decision of coming into nursing. Being able to work in my speciality right away is a blessing and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I  LOVE MY JOB!!!!!