Recent Research About Nursing, October 2010

New studies look at nurse residency programs and their impact on nurse retention, and identify nurses' top time-wasters.

    • October 28, 2010

A newly published study finds that nurses who participated in a one-year hospital nurse residency program were less stressed, more clinically savvy and much more likely than their peers to stay with their employer after the first year.

The study by University of Nevada-Las Vegas nursing professor Susan Kowalksi, Ph.D., R.N., C.N.E., focused on residency programs in two Las Vegas hospitals, and was published in the Journal of Nursing Management. Kowalski developed the program in 2007 in the face of a 30 percent turnover rate among first-year nurses at the hospitals. Once the program was in place, she tracked turnover for two consecutive years. The turnover rate dropped to 22 percent in the first year of implementation, and to just 4 percent in the second year.

In addition, Kowalski reports improvement in participating nurses’ stress and anxiety levels, clinical competency and overall job satisfaction.

“Residency programs result in more confident and successful nurses, but they also positively affect the bottom line,” says Kowalski, noting that nurse recruitment and training can cost employers many thousands of dollars per nurse. “The jump from clinical and simulated training to the real thing can be stressful for new grads, but mentoring and peer support through transition programs work and ultimately keep nurses in the profession where they’re needed.”

Nurses Identify Top Time-Wasters

A new survey identifies nurses’ top time-wasters and redundant tasks—and missing supplies and paperwork annoyances figure prominently in the results.

The survey by the Healthcare Management Council, a for-profit health care consulting company, asked nurses to list the top time-wasters in their day. More than half (55 percent) cited inefficient document procedures, particularly electronic document procedures that require entering the same information twice in incompatible systems. Next on the list is a longstanding nuisance, searching for and retrieving supplies and equipment, which was listed by nearly one-fifth of nurses (19 percent). Also on the list: waiting for treatment rooms to open; locating patients mistakenly assigned to other units; waiting to hear back from physicians to receive medication orders and other necessary information; and redundant communication with families when there is no clear family point of contact.

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