Nursing Leaders: Supporting New Nurses in Their First Two Years

Jun 25 / Teresa Sanderson, RN, CCM
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As a nursing leader, it's crucial to recognize the challenges faced by new nurses entering the profession. A staggering 33% of new nurses leave the field within their first two years, not just changing jobs but abandoning nursing altogether. With an additional 800,000 nurses expected to leave the workforce by 2027, we must address this alarming trend head-on.
The first two years of a nurse's career are a critical decision point. Recent discussions on social media reveal that many nurses are evaluating their future in the profession at the one-year mark, with 18% leaving by the end of their first year. As nursing leaders, we play a pivotal role in supporting new nurses during this time by providing guidance, mentorship, and resources to help them grow and thrive.

One key strategy is to individualize mentorship, training, and onboarding processes. Today's new graduates have vastly different clinical experiences compared to those from even five years ago. By taking stock of their skills and tailoring our approach, we can empower them to become confident and competent professionals.

Innovative continuing education programs can be developed for specific units, such as cardiac or surgical, to provide new nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to excel. These courses can go beyond what is taught in nursing school, easing the burden on preceptors and fostering a more supportive learning environment.

As leaders, we are responsible for shaping the culture of our units. It's time to put an end to the notion that "nurses eat their young" and instead promote a culture of professionalism, civility, and teamwork. By providing emotional intelligence training and creating a safe, supportive work environment, we can combat the incivility and bullying that drive nurses away.

More than 50% of nurses leaving their roles today cite working conditions and culture as a primary factor. We must confront this reality head-on and implement systems and processes that streamline the old ways of doing things. By doing so, we can save time and energy while improving the experience for new nurses, preceptors, and ultimately, our patients.

At the heart of all these efforts is a commitment to better patient care and safety. By investing in the development and retention of our new nurses, we can build a stronger, more resilient workforce that delivers exceptional care.

As a nursing leader, I invite you to join our new membership community at Nurses Feed Their Young. This platform connects leaders and nurses across specialties, providing a space to discuss real-world challenges and collaborate on solutions. Together, we can create a brighter future for nursing by elevating our profession and solving problems from within.

Remember, it's the ones closest to the problem who hold the knowledge to solve it. Let's harness the collective wisdom of our profession and work together to support the next generation of nurses. Join us at Nurses Feed Their Young and be part of the solution.

Join the waitlist for the Nurses Nurture Their Young Member Community today, and be part of the movement to create a brighter future for nursing by supporting and empowering our newest colleagues.