Why do we have such a hard time keeping Nurses in the Nursing profession? A study by Bowles and Candela shows that up to 30% of new nursing graduates left their first nursing position during their first year and a whopping 57% left by the second. Even Florence Nightingale left active nursing after three years and moved to an instructor/administrator role from there.
So why is it we're having such a problem?
Has anyone ever heard the phrase "Nurse's eat their young"? It's common knowledge that starting a new career as a nurse is anything but easy and our new grads will probably encounter a fair amount of push-back when they first arrive on the floor. The problem is that when we push a new nurse out, the cost to replace him/her is estimated to be between $62,000-$67,000. That's a high cost for a little bit of impatience.
Which is why we'd like to dedicate this post to reminding all of those experienced nurses out there what it was like when they first started. Do you remember any experiences with a nurse who made you feel inadequate or unprepared? On the other hand do you remember experiences with nurses who helped you and guided you through that first year?
Would you have stayed at your job if everyone fit into the first category? How about the second?
We know it's not easy to remain friendly and calm with a new nurse who slows down the daily care routine or needs a little extra practice with IVs. However, if we could all put ourselves in his/her shoes for a moment and instead of snapping, we could review IV skills during a slow period or kindly debrief the day with your new charges to discuss where things can be improved next time. Instead of pushing new graduates away, let's welcome them in and guide them along.
That way when the next set of students comes in, those same nurses you helped along the way will be able to provide the same niceties and kindness in the future which will foster a culture of support rather than isolation on your floor... and hopefully keep a few more good nurses around for more than a year or two.