Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Market for nurses: residencies?

Despite the medical-training ethos of "see one, do one, teach one," newly graduated MD's aren't considered to be independent doctors until they have completed several years of organized on the job training (in the form of residencies and fellowships). Nurses, however, are often thrust directly into relatively unsupervised patient care directly upon graduation.

That may be changing, partly because the stress of being given too much responsibility too soon causes young nurses to leave: Amid Nurse Shortage, Hospitals Focus on Retention.

"Many novice nurses like O'Bryan are thrown into hospitals with little direct supervision, quickly forced to juggle multiple patients and make critical decisions for the first time in their careers. About 1 in 5 newly licensed nurses quits within a year, according to one national study.
That turnover rate is a major contributor to the nation's growing shortage of nurses. But there are expanding efforts to give new nursing grads better support. Many hospitals are trying to create safety nets with residency training programs."
"One national program is the Versant RN Residency, which was developed at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and since 2004 has spread to 70 other hospitals nationwide. One of those, Baptist Health South Florida in the Miami area, reports cutting its turnover rate from 22 percent to 10 percent in the 18 months since it started its program."
"The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the University HealthSystem Consortium teamed up in 2002 to create a residency primarily for hospitals affiliated with universities. Fifty-two sites now participate in that yearlong program and the average turnover rate for new nurses was about 6 percent in 2007."
"The National Council of State Boards of Nursing is considering a standardized transition program. It cited a study showing a link between residencies and fewer medical errors, but also pointed to the inconsistency among current efforts."

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