I’ve been hearing a lot lately about new grad nursing programs. I’m pleased to know there are more of them cropping up. It will hopefully help us to keep new nurses in the profession. We continue to lose far too many in the first 3 years because nursing isn’t what they expected it to be. Combined with increasing workloads, nurse bullying and physician bullying as a continuing issue, we are losing too many nurses period.
New nurse grad programs are an essential part of the future of nursing and curtailing the nursing shortage,
but they’re not necessarily there for the top graduates. These programs are also highly sought after and have far more applicants than the programs can take on at any given time. The competition is stiff and top nurse grads are primed to compete.
Top Grads May Not Be Accepted
However, if you graduated at the top of your class and/or have some nursing experience already, it becomes nearly impossible to get into a new nurse grad program. This can be emotionally devastating and frustrating. In reality these nurses should feel honored to be turned down even though they value the opportunity to learn even more.
Many new grad programs are designed to boost the confidence and skills level of new nurse grads who perhaps didn’t have the best opportunities, or didn’t avail themselves of them. If you’re shy and stand to the back of the crowd in nursing school you’re not going to get the clinical opportunities unless your instructors are vigilant in making sure each student demonstrates proficiency. That isn’t always possible given the populations of patients at any given time.
Even if you had all the best opportunities, but you struggled in certain areas and/or were in the middle to lower end of your class, a new grad program can offer extended education and supervision opportunities to make you a great nurse.
New Grad Programs Help Reduce Bullying
This creates another scenario for not accepting the top of the class grads; boredom and the possibility of encouraging nurse bullying of the grad who takes a little longer to catch on. These programs help these new nurses need a little extra time and preceptoring them with nurses dedicated to help them helps to reduce the nurse bullying by not throwing them into the water and expecting them to sink or swim in a pool of experienced nurses who don’t have time or desire to help them.
New grad programs are also designed to build the workforce in that particular hospital. This is why they are often called residency programs. They are looking for nurses who will be dedicated to staying on for at least 3-5 years and possibly working in certain areas of high turnover. Nurses at the top of the class are quite often energized and looking towards higher education in the near future. These nurses frequently want to be nurse educators, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists. This may not be a need for the hospital offering a new nurse grad program. And investing their time and money on nurses who will quickly move along is just not economically feasible.
This is NOT to say you shouldn’t apply. Look for every possible opportunity to continue your education while working and soak up every ounce of knowledge to make you the best nurse ever! But if you get turned down, keep looking for other opportunities. Even new nurses who really need a little extra help should do well in the right place. Be honest and willing to learn. DO some homework so you’re ready to learn a new skill. You Tube, for instance, has a multitude of instructional videos. Sites such as NucleusHealth.com offer many forms of media for learning about conditions and treatment modalities and they have a You Tube site as well. Be willing to help a co-worker with tasks in exchange for preceptoring.
Nursing is a lifelong journey of learning, but it’s not a one-size fits all situation. Nurses of all levels need to continue to be sponges and absorb all the information they can. Health care is constantly changing and nurses are expected to be the backbone. More and more responsibilities become part of the nurses everyday world. We all have to be prepared and willing to learn and to teach. Explore your opportunities and never feel stuck in something that isn’t right for you.