Do experienced nurses really eat their young?

nurse-jackie-preceptorI have lots and lots of opinions on this issue, having graduated a few years ago and having served as a preceptor to new RNs frequently. As a nurse, we should all strive to eradicate the adage about experienced nurses “eating their young” because we were all there at one point.
Most hospitals have orientation periods for new graduates that concentrate on pairing the new nurse with more experienced nurses for days to months at a time before they are left to care for patients on their own. As a nurse alongside a new nurse- even if you are not directly precepting them- be sure to seek them out for unusual procedures that may be done on the floor so they can watch. This will only benefit the floor in the long run.

Be critical but not harshly critical, just constructively. Harp on their strengths but be sure to mention what they should focus on as weaknesses. In nursing school, you merely skim the issues that you will encounter as an official RN and most of the training that you receive is on-the-job. Be mindful of this because this new nurse may not have been exposed to some of the stuff in nursing school.

Don’t be afraid to let management know if there is a problem though because this nurse is going to be a part of a team, and teamwork is huge in nursing. A weak member of the team can hurt the entire floor, so be sure to advocate for the new nurses but speak up if you think they need more training before they are left on their own.

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