A survey of the felt needs and preferred learning methods of a group of newly employed staff nurses
Fenty, Daryl J.
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The retention of nurses, mounting health care costs, an emphasis on quality patient care, and nursing accountability are all reasons for the recent interest in orientation programs that increase job satisfaction, decrease attrition, and foster competency. The purpose of this study was to examine the reaction of newly employed nurses to their experiences during an orientation program in a large general hospital. A longitudinal approach was used to examine the felt needs and preferred learning methods of 54 full-time, part-time, and relief (casual) nurses before and after this orientation program. It also sought to determine if the information included in this orientation program would be more meaningful if presented at a different time and in a different manner. Data were collected at three points by means of= a) a questionnaire prior to the new nurse attending the orientation program, b) a questionnaire at the end of the general orientation program, and c) an interview at 155 hours or more of work experience. The questionnaires and interview schedule were developed and administered by the writer. Analysis of these data consisted of frequency counts, cross-tabulations, and an examination of responses to open-ended questions. The results of the study indicated that: 1. Nurses with three to six years of experience, commencing employment in specialty areas, more frequently than other nurses expected the orientation program to help them feel more competent in performing technical skills. 2. Nurses' informational needs could be ranked into four categories to include: emergency procedures; the location of resource materials, manuals, areas, and services, and safety and security; employee related topics and patient care related topics; miscellaneous topics of philosophies, objectives, organizational charts, and services of other departments. 3. 92. 6% of the nurses preferred to learn by personal assistance from an experienced staff member, 81.5% by demonstration and practice, 72. 2% by audio-visual methods, 66. 7% by lectures, and 64. 8% by written materials. 4. 90.7% of the nurses preferred an orientation to the hospital prior to commencing work on their unit. 5. The informational needs of nurses on the first day on the job varied a great deal and were dependent on the amount of nursing experience. 6. There was a relationship between how important the information was to the nurse and how well it was remembered. 7. There was a relationship between how important the information was to the nurse and his or her readiness to learn.