The nursing graduate programme was an initiative of the founding board of management with the intention of supporting and enhancing the nursing community. Commenced in 2006, the programme initially focused on didactic education and technical skills, delivered in partnership with the local university. The programme was revised in 2014 following discussion with former participants who suggested that the real requirements were less focused on academic learning than team working, time management, critical decision making and practical ‘how to’ skills. The new programme was negotiated with hospital leadership to include paid protected time to learn in practice, focusing on supporting personal and reflective skills and understanding the shared values and vision for nursing practice in the hospital. A total of 30 nurses have undertaken the programme since 2014 with seventeen nurses remaining or returned to the team following attainment of other experiences elsewhere. The programmes aim is to nurture, guide and build confidence for newly qualified nurses in a fast-paced, technologically advanced acute hospital setting.
The graduate programme has gained national awareness following nomination at the National Irish Education Awards, winning first runner up as an oral presentation at the RCSI Nursing and Midwifery Research and Education conference 2020, oral presentation at the International Network for Health Workforce, Sigma Theta Tau International Congress 2021 and upcoming at the International Council of Nurses Conference in November 2021.
The graduate programme has been submitted for CPD and CEU points to both the NMBI and RCSI for the 2021 intake, which has been expanded to an intake of 12 graduate nurses.
The 2020 cohort of graduate nurses along with the programme facilitators have written a peer reviewed publication for the International Practice Development Journal, due to be published in November of this year. The abstract is as followed:
The transition from student to newly qualified nurse using a co-constructed, person-centred graduate programme: a shared reflection from participants.
Laura Taheny, Michele Hardiman, Sophie Hogan and Briana McCarthy
Background: Internationally, the retention of newly qualified staff nurses has caused great difficulties in hospital settings. In order to provide support to these nurses, a co-constructed programme focused on meeting the individual needs of newly qualified registered nurses was developed, implemented and evaluated. Successful transition from student nurse to staff nurse programmes are key to improving the retention of newly qualified nurses
Aim: This article aims to share the collective reflections of participants of a person-centred graduate nursing programme, pre-commencement and following a specific, co-constructed personal and professional shared development programme. The overarching aim of this programme is to develop a healthful culture, where the newly qualified nurses feel supported, empowered and enabled to flourish in practice.
Conclusions and implications for practice:
- Use of a person-centred practice framework (McCormack & McCance, 2019) provides a shared vision and underpinning philosophy for practice within the programme and for nursing in the hospital.
- A critical component for a person-centred programme for qualified nursing staff are the provision of collaborative, inclusive and participative processes to include the participant nurses and the team.
- Protected time needs to negotiated and secured to facilitate newly graduated nurses to grow into their new and expanding roles and transition from student to registered nurse.