By Kerry Sirkka, Divisional Vice President of Recruitment, AMN Healthcare
Although the shortage of clinicians continues to worsen, healthcare providers are still reluctant to hire novice nurses and early career nurses with under two years’ experience. The reasoning is that such nurses lack the necessary bedside care experience. However, with the growing shortages of nurses and the aging of the current nursing workforce, hospitals, health systems and other health facilities should consider training new grad nurses for patient care and employing early career nurses in suitable roles. Experts in healthcare staffing and workforce solutions can help.
New Grad Nurses Trained for Bedside Care
There are many benefits to implementing a new grad nurse training program. Healthcare providers can partner with education and training experts to make sure novice nurses quickly become adept in their new patient care environment. Novice nurses actually bring many benefits to a healthcare organization, including a tech-savviness that will help them quickly acclimate to the electronic medical records and other health IT systems of a hospital or health system. Also, novice nurses are eager to gain more experience, so they’re more apt to take on shifts that long-time nurses may no longer want to cover.
As explained in a Nursing Economics article, New York-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) has a New Graduate Per Diem Program, in partnership with AMN Healthcare, designed to assist the new graduate nurse transition from student to professional by providing the necessary clinical experiences and competencies. The retention rate of these new grads has been fantastic, and the program has also produced cost savings for NYP.
Early Career Nurses can also Solve Staffing Shortages
Not only are healthcare organizations reluctant to hire and train new grads, but nurses with only a little experience are also being turned away. Many healthcare employers require a minimum of two years’ experience for hiring nurses, which creates a catch-22: nurses can’t get hired without experience, but they can’t gain experience without getting hired.
Providers that are having a hard time filling nursing positions should consider hiring nurses with less than a year or two of experience. As with new grads, these nurses are more willing to cover overnight or irregular hour shifts that long-time nurses no longer want to work. In addition, nurses with lower levels of clinical experience are more willing to work at hospitals in regions that may not be sought-after destinations.
AMN Healthcare placed a travel nurse at a rural Pennsylvania hospital who had exactly one year of clinical experience. Today, she is currently on her third travel assignment at the hospital, and her supervisors had only great things to say about her. One nurse manager said, “She is a great team player and very good in building rapport with her patients.”
A healthcare organization that doesn’t have the budget to hire experienced nurses for certain positions, or can’t match the wages of a larger city, may find that nurse with less experience can better fit their financial needs and add great value to their organizations.
New grad nurses and early career nurses are essential to solving the growing nursing shortage. As older nurses begin to retire, we’ll need these nurses to fill the gap. Remember, all nurses were novice nurses at the beginning of their careers.