Nurses’ Week Series: Training for younger nurses can alleviate staffing crunch

This article is part of our Nurses' Week Byline Series which will speak to the important theme of Nurse Safety.

It's a paradox for registered nurses fresh out of school: There's a nursing shortage, yet hospitals, clinics and practices don't want to hire them. Instead, healthcare organizations want experienced and/or specialty-trained RNs who are critical thinkers, make decisions quickly, and have a high level of confidence.

The good news is early career nurses are eager to expand their education and training, which can help them develop the skills prized in more seasoned nurses. And, training programs are now available to transition from graduation to practice.

Strong Interest among Younger Nurses
A 2015 Survey of Registered Nurses by AMN Healthcare shows that, among nurses under age 40, more than three-quarters plan to pursue a higher degree in the next three years. Only 17% said they had no plans to pursue further education. The survey found the greatest level of interest among specialty nurses.
The survey concluded that this high degree of motivation for more education could be an indication of younger nurses desire to be more competitive in the job market, because many health systems give preference in hiring and promotion to nurses with higher education.

This trend toward higher education among nurses could help healthcare organizations fill those vacancies where nurses are in high demand, such as intensive care, labor and delivery, and emergency rooms. In fact, the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report from 2010 recommends higher degrees for nurses to improve the quality of care and expand patient access to primary and specialty care.
The 2015 RN survey indicates very high interests among younger nurses for entering training programs, such as those for new and emerging roles, and for seeking professional certification in specialties.

Healthcare providers could capitalize on the interest among younger nurses for education and training to address the nursing shortages that are afflicting most provider organizations. A growing option for training for younger nurses transition-to-practice programs offered by healthcare organizations to provide younger nurses with the skills they need to get hired for staff and travel positions. Transition-to-practice programs can train new grad nurses so that they can step into positions that require experience.

Transition-to-Practice for New Grads
At New York-Presbyterian Hospital, a partnership with AMN Healthcare is helping new grad nurses get the skills they need through the New Graduate Residency Program. This Transition-to-Practice program lays out a comprehensive nursing orientation with a yearlong residency program at the New York-Presbyterian's host campus site. The program's objective is to expand the pool of experienced RN applicants to New York-Presbyterian while decreasing turnover and increasing retention.

In this way, new nurses get on-the-job training at a top-rated hospital and develop the critical thinking skills they need to succeed. At the same time, the hospital gets a quick return on its investment so that it can quickly deploy the newly trained grad into the appropriate clinical units.

One thing to remember about new nurses is that while they may lack experience, they bring longevity and energy, which healthcare organizations need, particularly as older nurses retire. New nurses have a whole career ahead of them, and they also have that amazing sense of excitement that is so vital to their new responsibilities as a nurse.

Learn more:
Nursing Jobs for New Grads Boosted by Training Programs
Nurses Show Strong Interest in Education and Training
2015 Survey of Registered Nurses

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