CNO Roundtable 2023

Question 4: New Grad RNs

What do you see as the biggest challenges in preparing new grad RNs today?

Our panel discusses the many challenges in preparing new graduate RNs for the current practice environment, and what the panelists wish was part of nursing school curriculum.

Gloria Carter, Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center

Two of the greatest threats impacting new grads are faculty shortages and the retirement of our expert nurses. Faculty shortages limit the number of graduates entering the workforce. Retirement limits the availability of experienced nurses to mentor and precept new grads.

Anita Girard, Cedars-Sinai

The practice environment is moving faster than ever. I wish my academic colleagues had more time to teach students about the RN’s professional role. If you know your scope of practice, you can really function at the top of your license.

Karen Grimley, UCLA Health

The biggest challenge is ensuring practice readiness in areas beyond the traditional acute and intensive care settings. Modifying curricula to include public health, home health, psychiatric care, and clinical practice would better prepare new grads for changes in our industry.

Katie Hughes, Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare

The greatest challenge new graduates face is learning to organize their time. As nurses, they must respond to and prioritize multiple demands at once and cope with frequent interruptions. Four-to-six-week preceptorships seem to really help new grads make that transition.

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Evelyn Ku, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital

Since the pandemic began, a large portion of students’ clinical hours have been accumulated through activities inadequate to prepare them for their first professional assignments. The responsibility of preparation is being passed onto the hospitals that first hire new graduates.

Deborah McCoy, USC Arcadia Hospital

Undergraduate programs emphasize the science, skills, and competencies required to physically care for patients, but nurses also need compassion and empathy. Emphasizing this is so very important in building new grads’ foundational skills and confidence.

Theresa Murphy, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

One of the biggest challenges new graduate RNs face is the very dynamic pace of modern healthcare and the rapid discovery of new knowledge. Commitment to continuous learning is a necessity in nursing practice.

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Jinhee Nguyen, Adventist Health Glendale

Although nursing is highly technical, providing students with the tools and experiences to develop strong people skills is also essential. Nurses can miss so much if they don’t know how to speak comfortably with patients.

Tanya Osborne-McKenzie, MLK Community Healthcare

The biggest challenge for new grad RNs may be that many preceptors are relatively novice themselves. So many experienced RNs have recently left the bedside that current preceptors may have limited experience, which poses challenges nurse leaders need to be aware of.

Gloria Sanchez-Rico, Huntington Health

It would be beneficial for schools to include an operational component to help new grads develop a big-picture perspective. It’s also important that new RNs understand that their career path is deeply meaningful. I can’t think of another profession that impacts so many lives.

Dianne Sauco, PIH Health Downey Hospital

Flexibility is vital because things change so rapidly. We need to be able to adjust quickly, such as when floating from one unit to another. At the same time, I encourage new grads to commit to mastering all the skills needed in a specific area. ■

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