Title : New Graduate Facilitated Support Groups in the Emergency Department Extending the Clinical Educator Relationship
Clinical educators in the Emergency Department (ED) assume primary responsibility for the onboarding and education of new graduate nurses and other new hires to their department. New hires are paired with preceptors chosen by the educators until their orientation goals have been met and they transition to independent practice. This transition to working “on their own” is well demonstrated in the literature to be a stressful time for new graduate nurses as they progress from novices towards competence. While evidence shows mentoring to help nurse learners, the responsibilities of acting as a mentor have become increasingly burdensome for experienced staff nurses burned out from the coronavirus pandemic. Extending the clinical educator role to include facilitated support groups after orientation can maintain the trusting relationship built during onboarding and build staff cohesion on the unit.
Methods: Upon completion of their initial orientation to the emergency department, new graduate nurses were invited to monthly scheduled meetings facilitated by a clinical educator. All interested staff were also extended an invitation to participate in the discussion. Ground rules for confidentiality, patient privacy and etiquette for respectful listening were established. Each month new topics were introduced for discussion including communication on the unit, stress management, strategies for conflict resolution and avenues for professional development.
Conclusion: Engagement and support of new graduate nurses is imperative as they enter the workforce during this unprecedented time in healthcare. Utilizing the role of the clinical educator to extend support to new nurses is one tool to improve engagement, provide emotional support, and ultimately retain staff.