Introduction programme may reduce stress for newly hired nurses
Nurses often experience stress and uncertainty at their first workplace because of an excessive workload. Research has shown that one in five new nurses contemplate leaving the profession. Margareta Asp, Professor at MDU, has been awarded SEK 4,004,000 to develop a digital professional development programme for recently graduated nurses.
“It is common for nurses to experience uncertainty and tangible stress when they start their first employment. Perhaps they are not really prepared for the challenges the profession entails and for the high workload in healthcare,” says Margareta Asp, Professor of Health Sciences at MDU.
“Studies show that a fifth of recently graduated nurses experience symptoms of burnout and that just as many consider leaving the profession altogether. This is something we must change, by creating the conditions for them to want to continue working in healthcare.
Margareta Asp's previous research has mainly focused on designing concepts and theories in health science. In addition, she has investigated the importance of rest for good health and how nursing students lay the foundation for their professional competence during their education. She will now develop a programme to support newly trained nurses during their first year in their new profession.
“We will develop a professional development programme that will be an introduction to the profession for recently graduated nurses. The programme will run for a year and is based on previous research results which indicate that there are four themes that are particularly important for new employees to get a good introduction to professional life,” says Margareta Asp.
“The first theme is clarity in your role, i.e. that you are clear about your area of responsibility. The second theme is the ability to act, and concerns developing skills and experience to be able to manage your mission. The third theme is social inclusion and describes how you become an integral part of a working group. The fourth theme is recuperation and it is about creating strategies for your own recuperation.”
Ongoing self-assessment and access to mentors
The project will be conducted in collaboration with Region Västmanland and will include all recently trained nurses who will be hired during January and August 2023.
“We will follow the nurses' development in relation to the four themes. Data will be collected through regular self-assessments. During the programme, mentors in the form of experienced nurses will be available for the new hires. Their relationship and conversations will take place digitally,” says Margareta Asp.
“When the programme is completed, we will conduct interviews both individually and in groups with the new nurses to see to what extent they are satisfied with their work and have trust in their ability and competence. And not least if they want to stay at their workplace.”
What do you hope to achieve from the project?
“I hope that the nurses will feel satisfied in their work and that they will decide to continue working in healthcare. If they decide to stay, I hope that they will have the opportunity for skills and career development. In the region where we are conducting the project, 20 per cent of the newly hired nurses leave their first employment within three years. Therefore, I think it’s significant to carry out this project.”
Research that will benefit working life
The Hållbar professionsutveckling (Sustainable professional development) project, including a digitised introduction programme for nurses, starts in September 2022 and will run for three years. AFA Försäkring (AFA Insurance) is funding the project.
“In the long term, we wish to promote a good working environment with fewer occupational injuries and reduced ill-health. We will do this mainly by supporting research that will be useful in the workplace,” says Susanna Stymne Airey, SVP Preventative Measures at AFA Försäkring.
“One of the main criteria when we decide which projects will receive support is precisely that the research should be of practical benefit. We have now granted support to Margareta Asp and a new project which is important from a preventive perspective.”
This text, which contains some minor changes, was originally written by AFA Insurance.