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Pete’s Perspective: Equipping Nurses New to the Emergency Department with the Skills to Succeed

Pete’s Perspective: Equipping Nurses New to the Emergency Department with the Skills to Succeed

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Nurses spend years developing the skills necessary to care for patients in a range of situations. Beyond educational programs and training to earn their degrees, however, is hands-on experience. Perhaps nowhere is that more important than in the emergency department.

Last year, Salinas Valley Health achieved accreditation with distinction for its New Graduate Nurse Residency Program. Earning this designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center is a testament to our commitment to our most important asset – our community of healthcare professionals.

Adding another layer to its well-structured training of nurses, we recently launched an Emergency Nurse Residency Program (ENRP) to build competency for nurses new to the emergency department. The program provides education and resources to improve decision-making skills, clinical judgment and familiarity working in an environment focused on emergent care.

While nursing schools teach nurses to base patient care on a medical diagnosis, in an emergency department, they often have to investigate symptoms to ensure patients receive appropriate resources as quickly as possible. The Emergency Nurse Association, which developed the program, says one of its most significant benefits is a boost in confidence. When seconds matter, confidence is vital.

According to a Human Resources Research Organization study, nearly three-quarters of emergency department (ED) nurses view critical thinking as the number one skill gap for new ED nurses. The ENRP develops not only critical thinking but also communication and problem-solving skills.

The 16- to 18-week full-time evidence-based teaching program begins with didactic education, online lessons and case-based simulations. It then moves to patient experiences and observations. Immersive patient experiences with a clinical preceptor follow along with designated reflection periods. Preceptors and coaches work with participants throughout the program. A significant plus of the ENRP is nurses’ development of strong working relationships with their more experienced colleagues.

Empowering nurses to succeed in emergency care improves both patient outcomes and staff retention. The ENRP is an essential step that Salinas Valley Health has undertaken to strengthen our ED nursing team during a time when there is an acute shortage of nurses nationwide.

I have often said that our staff is at the heart of our every success. Their ongoing drive for excellence, including establishment of the Emergency Nurses Residency Program, exemplifies how we work to help our community rise in good health.

Be safe and be well.

– Pete

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