Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Six Tips to Survive Your First ...
Six Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Hospital RN

Six Tips to Survive Your First Year as a Hospital RN

The first year on the job is often the toughest for new nursing graduates, especially those who work in hospitals. In fact, new nurse graduates account for more than half of the turnover rate in some hospitals, according to a study published in 2007 by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing researchers.

“There really are multiple reasons for [the first-year exodus],” says Patricia Benner, RN, PhD, professor at the University of California, San Francisco and a senior scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. “One is that nursing practice is incredibly complex. Over the past 60 years, the transfer of responsibility to nursing from medicine has been incredible. I think society doesn’t typically recognize that.”

Because the sickest patients are in the hospital, hospital RNs need good clinical judgment and the ability to recognize when a patient needs immediate intervention -- challenges that are especially pronounced in a nurse’s first year of employment.

So what can you do to make your transition from nursing student to working nurse easier and your first years on the job more satisfying? Here are some issues to ask about and consider before and after taking the job.

Ask About First-Year Nurse Turnover Rates

High turnovers indicate how the employer treats first-year nurses, Benner says. Turnovers higher than 20 percent are generally considered high in the industry.

Find Out About Orientation and Preceptor Programs

A preceptor is a teacher and coach who helps nurses become oriented and familiar with a facility’s routines, procedures and people, says Patricia Hooper Kyriakidis, RN, MSN, PhD, a nurse consultant and researcher and president of Practice Solutions, a Hendersonville, Tennessee-based healthcare consultancy. New nurses are more likely to stay if they have an experienced and helpful preceptor. That’s why you should ask, “Will a preceptor be available on my shift after the orientation to answer questions and help with clinical decision making?”

Inquire About Support

Query the nurse manager about the level of clinical, social and emotional support available for new nurses. This support includes having experienced nurses on hand to help debrief a new nurse once he experiences a tragedy at work, such as a death. That debriefing must happen the day the event occurs, not a week later, Kyriakidis says.

Observe the Unit

Simply touring the unit won’t give you a good idea of how people work together, Kyriakidis says. Because it takes a while for people to let their guard down when someone is watching, make sure you observe for a few hours so you get a clearer picture of the unit’s interpersonal dynamics.

Consider Working on a Specialty Unit First

Benner says her research on first-year nursing indicates that it’s actually easier for many new nurses to start on a specialty unit, such as labor and delivery or a highly staffed pediatrics unit, because the patients on those units are more homogenous than those on a medical/surgical unit.

“If you take a position on a general medical/surgical unit, the range of patients is quite broad,” Benner say. “If you work on intensive-care or coronary-care units, you will have more of a controlled patient population.”

Get Your Feet Wet

That’s what first-year nurse Girish Dang, RN, a psychiatric nurse at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s inpatient psych unit, did. While he was getting his ADN at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts, Dang worked on the hospital’s psych unit as a psychiatric counselor. He credits that experience with helping him hit the ground running when he began working as a nurse on the unit, because he was already familiar with the culture and knew whom he could lean on for help.

The same can’t be said for all of his nursing school classmates. Dang says he knows of several fellow graduates who, lacking prior experience with their employers and insight about the staff and working environment, left their first nursing jobs within six months.

“In my opinion, 90 percent of the things in the job are learned not in nursing school but in the job itself,” Dang says.

Latest Jobs

CyberCoders
Posted: 10/21/2014
Cincinnati, OH, 45215
CyberCoders
Posted: 10/21/2014
Encinitas, CA, 92023
CyberCoders
Posted: 10/21/2014
Urbana, IL, 61801
CyberCoders
Posted: 10/21/2014
San Francisco, CA, 94104
CyberCoders
Posted: 10/21/2014
Dallas, TX, 75201

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.65.72-223
eTrustLogo