About 17.5 percent of new nurses leave their first job within a year. Without feedback from the preceptor, the orientee is not clear about expectations, which leads to more errors and higher dissatisfaction. A successful orientation program, one that includes support and guidance for the preceptor, can dramatically reduce staff turnover.
Karen Stutzer, assistant professor at the College of St. Elizabeth, presented “Owning Your Young: Precepting in Times of High Turnover,” on Wednesday. During the session, Stutzer discussed the importance of the preceptor role and its impact on satisfactory transitions into new roles, especially in a time of increasing turnover rates.
“Preceptors are vital not only for the development of safe, competent clinical practitioners, but also for the professional development and socialization of the new nurse,” Stutzer said. Investing in preceptors is investing in the future of the profession and in positive patient outcomes.
Applying Healthy Work Environment standards to orientation is one way we can assure support of the orientee and the preceptor. Constructive feedback should be part of a daily discussion between the preceptor and orientee, who both need feedback in order to hone their skills. Stutzer calls this “feed forward”— mutual planning to determine the goals of the orientee.
The session is part of a Special Focus Series presented at this year’s NTI. The series, titled “Own Your Practice,” rallies nurses to overcome the challenges they face in practice. The four-part series inspired nurses to drive positive change to improve their healthcare environments. “Preceptors cannot do it alone—owning our ‘young’ is the responsibility of the entire unit,” Stutzer said.