Fresh graduate nurses encounter multiple challenges in their real work practices. As early as from the time that they start their first duty, nurses are usually given an impractical load of work and multiple responsibilities that can all contribute to job stress, fatigue, and quick job turnover.

The failure to take an effective course of action to address and solve these issues will result in newly-minted nurses facing constant difficulties in their transition and ultimately increase the turnover rate among first year nurses. With this, employers who are hiring such nurses should first place this group of nurses into the transition to practice programme (TTP) prior to the real work environment as a way to help them to overcome the challenges that they may encounter.

Formerly, TTP is commonly implemented in acute care settings. However, due to the increase in aged care and chronic diseases, this programme has been considered important among employers who manage care agencies, home health settings and more. With the right guidance and help, it enables new nurses to become more proficient and confident RNs, maintain their performance as practicing professionals and commit longer to their nursing careers.

TTP typically consists of an orientation period with supernumerary time and study days, combined with mentoring or preceptorship approach. Moreover, “academic credit-status” points are also included in the programme as a means to create incentives for new graduate nurses to undertake postgraduate specialty studies in the future.

Proficient practice via TTP model

Recognising that new nurses may lack confidence in work practices, TTP concedes that additional education preparation and the consolidation of skills are imperative to change and support a student nurse into becoming a professional practitioner. Slots entailedin TTP include TTP models, patient simulation, journal assignments along with classroom sessions which cover clinical and professional development topics--TTP aims to create a positive nurse practice by integrating core components of education.

In addition, preceptorship, which refers to preceptor who provides clinical teaching and instruction, remains as an important component in a transition programme as it is also a major factor contributing to a new nurse’s competence and confidence at work.

Keeping nursing skills up-to-date

While TTP is quite common in hiring nurses, it is also seen as an essential programme for newly-graduated nurses who are still unemployed. This is so that new nurses can enhance their skills and keep such skills up-to-date while they search for jobs.

By targeting unemployed nurses as specific participants, nursing schools and clinician sites ought to collaborate with various institutions to provide a transition-to-practice model as a means to help these nurses cope with the demands of their job. Apart from classroom learning, skills lab practicing and preceptorship in clinical settings, TTP enables participants to avail free practices through unpaid 24-hour-per-week programme that are commonly being offered.

Develop critical thinking and clinical judgment skills

As participants go through the programme, they will be able to polish their creativity in solving clinical-related problems by developing critical thinking and clinical judgment skills. The classroom learning exposes nurses to various workplace-related dilemmas and scenarios coupled with the immediate critical solutions needed to attain each problem.

While classroom teaching mostly imparts theories and models, group discussions and mentorship segments can help nurses get a clearer picture of such clinical problems. In doing so, nurses in the training programme can develop problem-solving skills which are crucially needed once they are in real practices.

Ultimately, embracing a transition-to-practice programme can change the culture of an institution by being more supportive of the new graduates’ needs. In fact, these programs have thus far proven economically prudent while also leading to increased first-year nurse satisfaction and improved quality of patient care. This graduate transition programme can be an important programme to overcome nursing workforce shortages. MIMS

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