The nurse preceptor's job just keeps getting harder and harder.
Novice nurses are flooding into the workforce—meaning that preceptors must train more new staffers than ever before. But at the same time, clinical education is getting increasingly complex as the patient population ages, develops more chronic comorbidities, and needs ever-more-sophisticated care.
The nurse preceptor toolkit: Your guide to developing and inspiring high-performing preceptors
Last year, Inova Health System decided to face these problems head-on by reimaging its preceptor training strategy. Here's what Inova learned—including three strategies that can help other health systems improve their nurse training.
In February 2019, Inova Health System's Maureen Sintich, CNE, asked an expert partner from Advisory Board to facilitate a two-hour onsite workshop to evaluate the system's current preceptor program and identify ways to better support preceptors in the future.
Approximately 30 participants attended, including Sintich, preceptors, clinical directors, and clinical mentors. Over the course of a candid, wide-ranging conversation, they discovered that—while Inova's preceptor program performed well in many regards—preceptors felt there wasn't a standardized approach across the system for training preceptors and supporting new graduate nurses.
During and after the workshop, Inova's nursing leaders identified three key ways to address these challenges:
Since Inova launched the DEU, 14 new graduate nurses have completed the program. The early results are promising: Data shows improvement in new graduates' communication with doctors (2.16 to 3.15 after six months on a four-point scale), delegating to clinical techs (2.58 to 3.22), and asking for help from nurses (3.25 to 3.88).
What's more, the DEU reduced training and orientation time for new nurses—several of the new graduate nurses finished orientation early, due to the confidence and solid skill foundation they gained from the DEU. Inova nursing leaders believe the investment they made in preceptor support and new graduate training helps RNs recognize and value their organization and leaders, which in turn creates loyalty and commitment to Inova.
Interested in revamping preceptor training and support at your organization? Invite an Advisory Board expert faculty member to facilitate a workshop with leaders at your organization to prioritize the most important steps you can take to better support preceptors and new graduates.
The Nursing Executive Center wishes to thank the following DEU team members at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital for their willingness to share their outstanding work:
Katie Hile, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Jessica Harasek, MSN, RN, CAHIMS, RN-BC
Priscilla Trewartha, BSN, RN
Frances Collins, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, NE-BC
Deborah Fulbrook, EdM, MHS, BSN, RN, NEA-BC
Kathleen Russell-Babin, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, ACNS-BC
Maureen Sintich, DNP, MBA, RN, WHNP-BC, NEA-BC
Inga Rollins, MPH, BSN, RN, NPD-BC, CPN
Olga Torralba, MSN, RN, CCRN
Laura Mcnicholl, MS, RN, CNS-BC, RN-BC
Vicki Lindgren, MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN, CCNS
Maureen DeSena, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, NPD-BC
Lisa Robinson, MSN, RN, CPN, RNC-MNN
Allison Eustace, MSN, ACNS-BC
Debra Charland Jacobsen, BS, MT(ASCP)BBCM
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