Transitioning Experienced Nurses: One Acute Care Organization’s Journey
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Health care organizations have struggled with recruitment of experienced nurses into many specialty areas. Although there is a plethora of newly-licensed nurses entering the nursing profession, recruiting experienced nurses remains challenging. As a result, many organizations are following the Institute of Medicine’s (2011) recommendations in developing transition-to-practice programs for experienced nurses changing specialties. The Nursing Professional Development (NPD) practitioner is challenged with meeting the needs of these transitioning nurses.
As the experienced nurses transition to new specialty areas, they have unique needs similar to newly-licensed nurses (Benner, 1984). Unlike newly-licensed nurses, experienced nurses come with varied backgrounds and experience, resulting in the need for customized orientation plans. The NPD practitioner must assess, develop, and validate the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes of transitioning nurses. Experienced nurses entering a new specialty should have their psychosocial needs supported and monitored in order to ensure a smooth transition. Failure to adequately meet these needs can lead to high turnover rates of nurses who change specialties. The cost to replace a registered nurse could be as high as $88,000 (Kovner, Brewer, Fatechi, & Jun, 2014). This presentation will outline the steps that one organization took to develop an experienced nurse transition program. This presentation will highlight the challenges and opportunities in developing and evaluating a transition-to-practice program for experienced nurses. Moreover, the organizations’ program outcomes will be reported.