December 15, 2010
Response by Sangita Khanal Dhakal to Improving Quality and Patient Safety by Retaining Nursing Expertise by Karen S. Hill (August 2, 2010)
With Reply by author
In my opinion mentoring new nurses is just as important as retaining experienced nurses for providing safe patient care (Hill, 2010). Patient safety also depends on the quality of healthcare settings, state-of-art instrumentations, and qualifications of both doctors and nurses.
I grant that there is a growing concern in nursing regarding patient safety considering the large number of aging nurses. Buerhaus (2007) reported that 400,000 of the current registered nurses (RNs) are 50 years of age and older; he estimated that by the year 2020 the shortage of RNs would be about 760,000. We do need to fill all the positions of the nurses who will soon retire, or our healthcare system will be in great trouble.
However, new graduate nurses have a good theoretical background and some clinical skills that they developed during their clinical experiences as students. Komaratat and Oumtanee (2009) reported that after only the first month of a mentoring program newly graduated nurses demonstrated increased nursing competency in terms of the skills, knowledge, and self-confidence. Lofmark, Smide, and Wikblad (2004) reported that experienced nurses estimated the competency of new graduate nurses to be either good or strongly developed.
I think providing the opportunity for experienced nurses to transfer their knowledge and skills, without compromising patient safety, to new graduates is the best way to improve the quality and safety of patient care.
Sangita Khanal Dhakal
Curry College, Milton, MA
Buerhaus, P., (2007) Nursing Shortage Update: A Conversation with Peter Buerhaus. Reflections in Nursing Leadership. 4th Quarter, 33(4).
Hill, K.S. (2010). Improving quality and patient safety by retaining nursing expertise. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 15(3). doi: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol15No03PPT03
Komarata, S., & Oumtanee, A. (2009). Using a mentorship model to prepare newly graduated nurses for competency. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 40 (10), 475-480.
Lofmark, A., Smide, B., & Wikblad, K. (2006). Competence of newly-graduated nurses - a comparison of the perceptions of qualified nurses and students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 53(6), 721-728.