Why We Should Care About A Smooth Transition From Nursing Student to Professional

Due to the projected shortage of nurses, nursing schools are working to get more and more nurses out. There are several schools, including NYU Nursing, that depend on more clinical experience in simulation labs and less time in the hospitals.

While I support technology in all of its glory, nothing replaces human contact and connection. In our process of trying to be more efficient with our time, or in the hospital’s cases, more efficient with hiring, having people submit online application just removes us from feeling personally engaged with an individual. In my humble opinion, technology should enhance relationships, not separate people.

This explains why Columbia students have an advantage over NYU students. During the last two months of their nursing school, they are working with a nurse in the hospital for 40 hours (give or take), working day shifts and night shifts. They are given this time to really hone their skills and to get to know the nurses on a particular unit. This provides both the students and the hospitals great benefits.

1) The hospitals do not pay the students. While hospitals must pay for the nurses to precept the students, they do not have to pay the students to gain this experience.

2) The students are gaining one-on-one attention with the nurses and are honing their skills. They are gaining experience and appreciating everything that they learn.

3) The nurse managers and nurses feel much more comfortable about hiring a particular student because she has been on the unit and they see how she would fit into the unit.

I feel that this work immersion approach, especially for second-degree accelerated students who do not have the summer off for nurse externships, is appropriate for all parties.

Consider the current alternative.

Students go to medical-surgical clinical for 6 times in a semester with 5-6 students and 6 simulation labs with 10-12 students. Not a lot of time is spent with the nurses on the unit (unless you make the effort) considering that you are to report everything to the clinical nurse instructor.

Professors told me that it is more important to be able to think than to do skills well. They also told me that hospitals expect New Grads to not be able to do a lot of skills well so that it is ok for NYU to not have a work immersion. However, here are some negative aspects for not having work immersion.

1) New grads without work immersion are “more expensive” because they may need longer training compared to those who worked two months with a nurse as a student nurse.

2) Once a hospital decides to hire a new grad, hospitals must pay for the new grad’s learning as well as the preceptor. In a purely financial sense, new grads are expensive.

3) New grads have a longer unemployment stage even after they receive their license because the nurse managers are not familiar with the new grads. This prolongs the nursing shortage and the unemployment stage.

4) New grads may be less confident in their skill level compared to those with a two-month work immersion. This means that it may take longer for them to adjust, according to Benner’s theory.

I feel that it is the nursing schools’ responsibility AND the hospitals’ responsibility to work together to ensure that nursing students receive an appropriate amount of training and have the opportunities to work at a hospital. No Nursing Student Left Behind.

During nursing school, we discussed how when an error occurs, it is not necessary one person’s fault. It is the SYSTEM that can be improved. I see that there are better ways for accelerated nursing students to transition into their first year of work. And it truly begins during nursing school.

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