The Organizational Impact of a New Graduate Pediatric Nurse Mentoring Program

Diana Halfer, MSN, RN; Elaine Graf, PhD, RN; Christine Sullivan, MBA, MS

Disclosures

Nurs Econ. 2008;26(4):243-249. 

In This Article

Introduction

With a forecasted national nursing shortage that will become more severe over the next decade, nursing leaders are looking for guidance on how to recruit and retain the newest generation of nurses. Health care organizations benefit when they attract new nurses and prevent their turnover. Nursing turnover has financial costs for health care organizations; most importantly, it disrupts health care teams and ultimately impacts the health care team's delivery of quality care. The actual cost of replacing a single nurse approximates a nurse's annual salary and has been estimated at $44,000 per nurse (Beecroft, Kunzman, & Krozek, 2001; Halfer, 2007; Holtom & O'Neill, 2004). Nursing recruitment and retention is even more critical today as the availability of nurses diminishes. Experts believe that the aging Baby Boomer population will ultimately collide with the large population of registered nurses nearing retirement to increase demands for health care and nurses. Thus in an era of decreasing resources, increasing patient need, and continual cost escalation, nursing leaders are seriously evaluating and selectively choosing recruitment and retention strategies.

One strategy reported in the literature is to implement longitudinal mentoring programs for new graduate nurses. These programs often require an infusion of personnel resources for mentoring novice nurse competency development and socialization to the profession. In the financially constrained health care environment, a resource-intensive program can be sustained only by leaders who see quantitative evidence of organizational impact over time. With this goal in mind a longitudinal descriptive study was undertaken at an American Nursing Credentialing Center Magnet®-designated, pediatric academic medical center to compare the job satisfaction and retention rates of two cohorts of new graduate nurses: one before and one after the implementation of a Pediatric RN Internship Program. The re search ers investigated four questions. Does the Pediatric RN Internship Program improve nurse perceptions of the work experience and job satisfaction? Are perceptions confounded by birth generation or shift schedules? Is the pattern of longitudinal job satisfaction consistent over time after the implementation of a Pediatric RN Internship Program? What is the impact of the Pediatric RN Internship Program on 1-year employment retention rates?

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