Junior nurses undergo various experiences and stages during the first year of their professional practice. There are ups and downs throughout the journey of being a Registered Nurse (RN).

Among all factors, encountering new environments – coupled with overwhelming situations – is a major source of stress for junior nurses, who start their initial clinical placement. A study exploring the general practices of graduate nurses has discovered that almost 50% of graduate nurses were uncomfortable in performing resuscitation during their three months of initial clinical practices. Additionally, approximately 30% graduate nurses remained uncomfortable after 12 months of clinical practices.

If no action is taken, it will gradually affect patients’ chances of survival, as unpreparedness may cause delay in nursing interventions.

Barriers in performing the events

For nurses who are dealing with a resuscitation event for the first time, the nervousness may cause them to feel petrified with new circumstances – and not able to think rationally, thus resulting in poor decision-making.

For instance, a junior nurse in a hurry could be looking for the equipment needed for resuscitation from another location – instead of obtaining it at resuscitation trolleys,s which have already been pushed to the patient’s bedside.

This is referred to as a stage fright, where a nurse is unaware of her actions – and only realises her mistakes after completing the event. Additionally, this situation is exaggerated with a heavy number of clinicians taking on leadership roles; while fewer participants occupy other required roles.

Feeling more comfortable with resuscitation trolleys

Even though getting used to resuscitation procedures and the equipment is time-consuming – researchers believe that nurses, who are actively involved in formal debriefing sessions, could improve their preparation and overcome nervousness. Indeed, a majority of nurses reported that they are unlikely to be given an opportunity to participate in formal debriefing, resulting in feeling unease when performing resuscitation.

In response to this, nurse managers and hospital policies should allow more opportunities for graduate nurses to join the sessions. Alternatively, they can employ other coping strategies; for instance, discussing the event with colleagues and spending time alone.

Whenever there is a chance to perform the event, senior nurses and medical emergency teams (MET) should encourage graduate nurses to be involved in the process. Prior to the arrival of MET, senior nurses should guide them on how to prepare the equipment, arrange the setting and remind them on the essentials.

Once they become familiar with the equipment used by the MET, this will empower them to engage in a more hands-on capacity. Meanwhile, to avoid the heavy number of leaders in the event, a strategy should be considered to optimise the participants – so that it opens more chances to graduate nurses to perform.

In spite of this, resuscitation education and training should be extended to all RNs to support main roles of nurses during resuscitation. Along with this programme, researchers have suggested the implementation of simulated resuscitation as an integral part of learning as this method is effective in mimicking the reality of the event.

The stress and challenges that graduate nurses experience when participating in a resuscitation event has been well documented in many studies. As nurses are fortified to get familiar with the resuscitation process, the mentioned strategies should be evaluated by nursing experts. In doing so, we could determine the most effective method to enhance graduate nurses’ resuscitation experience. MIMS

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