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Empowering new nurses: Boosting well-being and supporting patient mental health

May 16, 2023

By Healthcare Professionals

An Asian woman nurse smiles as she stands in front of her team in the hospital hallway.

New grad nurses step into a demanding environment where they need to manage multiple responsibilities, the most important of which is providing high-quality patient care.

Lack of preparedness and support can strain new nurses' mental health, which can profoundly influence their ability to provide effective care. They often feel isolated and overwhelmed at first, with 63% identifying themselves as unready for clinical practice.1

Addressing patients' mental well-being is becoming increasingly crucial, too, as the volume of behavioral health visits has risen by 18% compared to pre-pandemic levels, particularly among those aged 18 and under. 2

Considering the impact of mental health on nursing, it is vital for healthcare organizations and nursing leaders to prioritize protecting the well-being of their new nurses and preparing them to care for patients with mental health issues.

Three strategies to safeguard nurses’ mental health and protect patients with mental and behavioral health conditions 

Let’s look at three strategies that you can use to ensure mental health care is a priority for your new graduates in particular —the most vulnerable group of nurses.

1. Foster new nurses’ ability to care for a diverse patient population, including those with mental health conditions

Virtual simulation and the ability to hone critical skills in a safe environment is an optimal way to strengthen practice readiness.  

  • With Elsevier’s evidence-based content in Shadow Health, including a Mental Health curriculum, new nurses can experience safe, self-assuring practice in a risk-free virtual learning environment. They will benefit from interacting with the most extensive collection of diverse virtual patient care scenarios to help strengthen competence and confidence.  

  • In addition, the Clinical eLearning course developed with the Emergency Nurses Association, Handling Psychiatric Emergencies 1.1, provides in-depth focus on managing a broad range of psychiatric emergencies to help ensure preparedness and safety in clinicians who face these situations hospital-wide.  

  • The Mental & Behavioral Health Specialty Collection in Clinical Skills delivers highly-focused guidance on topics relevant to caring for mental and behavioral health patients, plus protocols that help ensure clinicians can provide safe, effective care.  

2. Support a successful move from academia to clinical practice

New graduate nurses often feel unsupported when transitioning to professional clinical practice, leading to struggles with their own mental health, low satisfaction, and potential turnover. In fact, over 50% of new nurses are unprepared for the pressures they will face in the field. They identify as their main challenges: clinical judgment for patient management (43%), time management (53%), and stress management (56%).3

  • With dedicated support and feedback, novice nurses will be more likely to succeed. In addition, as they self-reflect and candidly share concerns, their nurse leaders can offer timely encouragement to enhance performance and job satisfaction. Elsevier’s engagement tools in Transition to Practice invite nurses to look inward at what they’re experiencing on the job, then communicate outward within the platform.  

  • Novice nurses can also perform at their best with trusted clinical decision support at bedside. Elsevier’s Care Planning combines the patient's story, evidence-based care plan guides, and standardized assessments into one longitudinal plan of care. Content includes mental and behavioral health topics that provide evidence-based clinical goals, signs and symptoms, interventions, education topics, social determinants of health, and regulatory measures.  

3. Encourage individual progress by identifying strengths and improvement areas

  • By providing ongoing visibility into the progress of each novice nurse, Transition to Practice and Shadow Health enable nurse leaders to gain performance insights and trends at both the individual and cohort levels. This makes it easy for leaders to identify struggling or at-risk nurses and empowers timely intervention. With this approach, nurse leaders can stay ahead of any potential issues and ensure their new grads are well-supported throughout their onboarding and residency.  With solutions that support both patients’ and nurses’ mental health, nurse leaders are better equipped to retain their newly licensed nurses, protect every individual in their hospital, and provide high-quality care.  

Ready to learn more? 

Visit us onlineopens in new tab/window to see how you can support new graduate nurses’ mental health as well as the well-being of the patients they care for. 



Healthcare Professionals