Today, the California Institute for Nursing & Health Care (CINHC) released its Evaluation Report of four San Francisco Bay Area pilot New Graduate Nurse Transition to Practice Programs (RN Transition Programs). The evaluation, led by the University of San Francisco, found that the programs are making a difference in the confidence and competence of new nurse graduates and increasing their employment opportunities in hospitals and out-of-hospital settings. As of May 2012, 79 percent of the nurses who participated in the four programs have secured jobs. "These RN Transition Programs improved new graduates' hiring eligibility," said CINHC's Project Manager Nikki West. "And although these programs were launched in a difficult economic climate with a high state unemployment rate, they can enhance the preparation of nurses for employment at any time."
In 2011, CINHC conducted a survey of newly licensed RNs and found that 43 percent of the 1,492 respondents who had been licensed between April 2010 and August 2011 had not found positions. Through innovation and collaboration among nursing schools, hospitals and community-based agencies, the 12 to 18-week pilot RN Transition Programs were developed and housed in schools of nursing and opened up to new RNs not yet employed. Three hundred thirty new nurse graduates enrolled in the pilot programs.
The programs integrated best practices from employer-based residency models and used standardized evaluation and confidence tools adapted from the six Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competencies and the 2006 revised Casey-Fink Graduate Nurse Experience Survey. The programs were flexibly designed for each site to provide the best experience for nurse participants and focused on building generalist, acute care and non-acute care skills. Key components of the Transition Programs included ongoing assessments of participants' critical thinking and competency skills; individualized learning plans with assigned faculty; precepted clinical hours; and classroom education on multiple topics.
The pilot programs were based at schools of nursing at Samuel Merritt University; California State University, East Bay; University of San Francisco; and a collaboration of South Bay schools, including San Jose State University, Samuel Merritt University's San Mateo Learning Center and San Jose/Evergreen Community College District through the Workforce Institute.
"The main goal of the pilot programs was to establish regional collaboratives to enhance skill development and confidence of RN graduates unable to secure jobs because of the current economy," said CINHC Executive Director Deloras Jones. "The RNs wanted to continue developing competencies to increase their value as nurses and prospective employees."
"The Transition Programs are in sync with recommendations from the Institute of Medicine's report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," said Jones. "They provide transitional support from classroom to clinical practice and are a necessary educational component in preparing nurses for practice today and tomorrow."
The four pilot RN Transition Programs were funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Kaiser Permanente Fund for Health Education at the East Bay Community Foundation and the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board. Currently, CINHC is seeking funding to support the next step of conducting evaluations of all RN Transition Programs in California. The evaluation study can be found at www.cinhc.org.
The California Institute for Nursing & Health Care is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that transforms the capacity of nurses to meet the evolving health needs of Californians by partnering with nurse leaders, educators, providers, payers, policy leaders and consumers.
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