Integrating Retired Registered Nurses Into a New Graduate Orientation Program

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Abstract

Purpose:

The project goal of was to decrease new graduate nurse (NGN) attrition during the first year of employment by improving communication skills and providing additional mentoring for NGNs employed in a community hospital located in a rural area.

Description of Project:

All NGNs participate in the Versant Residency Program. Even with this standardized residency program, exit interviews of NGNs who resigned during their first year of employment revealed 2 major issues: communication problems with patients and staff and perceived lack of support/mentoring from unit staff. A clinical nurse specialist–led nursing team developed an innovative program integrating retired nurses, Volunteer Nurse Ambassadors (VNAs), into the Versant Residency Program to address both of those issues.

Outcome:

All NGNs mentored by a retired nurse remain employed in the hospital (100% retention). Before the VNA program, the retention rate was 37.5%. Both the NGNs and VNAs saw value in their mentor-mentee relationship. There have been no critical incidences or failure to rescue events involving NGNs mentored by a VNA.

Conclusion:

Use of VNAs to support NGNs as they adjust to the staff nurse role can prevent attrition during their first year of nursing practice by providing additional support to the NGN.

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