Rounding, July/Aug 2018

What can hospital leaders do to help facilitate recent graduates’ clinical and professional development?

Hendrick Medical Center, Abilene
Susie Cassle
Susie Cassle, RN
Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer

At Hendrick Medical Center, we believe successful transition and professional growth require an intentional approach, beginning with the support of leadership. With encouragement and backing of our leadership, specific programs have been designed to help with the challenging transition recent graduates can experience.

HMC’s nurse residency program, preceptor training and development courses, as well as the employee exchange program, are three examples of successful programs actively supported by leadership. Leadership participates in each of these programs through service on advisory boards, supporting an inter-professional culture of learning and development and allocating appropriate resources to each program. The Nurse Residency Program at HMC provides our newly licensed nurses the tools and transitional mentors to better demonstrate how the role fits into the patient care team and organization.

Next, the selection of the right clinical preceptors is imperative in the transition and professional growth process. Hospital leadership only chooses individuals who are positive, relatable, professional, and whose values align with the hospital’s mission. As a preceptor, he/she must complete formal training that incorporates best practice and strategies for adult learners. Ongoing, biannual development training is also required to keep preceptors apprised of healthcare and professional development trends that benefit their preceptees.

Finally, our employee exchange program fosters interdepartmental relationships to help the recent graduate gain perspective of the workflows, culture, challenges and successes of other departments. Additionally, the program improves trust, safe hand-off report and rapport between departments.

HMC’s future plans include integrating the program into the nurse residency program, increasing the number of acute-care areas involved and providing inter-professional exchanges. 

University Medical Center System, Lubbock
Mike Ragain
Mike Ragain, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

One key area of preparation for our physicians who are recent graduates is leadership training. The twofold goal of this program is to provide leadership training and skills development for our physicians and also to better engage these doctors with our mission. This program is moving into the third year of operation. Many doctors who have completed the training are now serving as clinical leaders across our organization in a variety of roles. We also find that they are more often aligned with our goals and mission. Key leaders from the hospital from the CEO down are involved in presenting to these physicians and this face time enhances personal relationships.

Cizik School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Nancy Crider
Nancy M. Crider, Dr.PH, RN
Associate Professor

Recent graduates are looking for a supportive environment that is focused on quality clinical outcomes and patient safety. To accomplish this hospital leaders need to provide a strong onboarding process that includes a structured residency program and the provision of individual mentors. Mentors are important for providing young professionals with experience and guidance as they begin their professional career and acclimate to the organization. New graduates value diversity and inclusion and like to work in teams where interprofessional communication and transparency are expected. They look for great managers and want positions where they can learn and grow. They also look for hospitals with Magnet or Pathway to Excellence Designation from American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Recent graduates also value flexibility and look for jobs that align with their personal goals and values. Work life balance is important. Many have young families or aging parents so providing family friendly staffing and benefit packages is now the norm. Many also have high levels of student debt and look for not only competitive salaries but also retirement planning. Leaders must support lifelong learning and the development of new skills.

Finally, leaders must also provide graduates with opportunities for professional advancement within the organization. These strategies will help with future succession planning and provide a resilient work force ready to meet the challenges of an ever-changing healthcare environment.