Supporting nurses from nursing school to their last day in scrubs

The nursing profession faces a myriad of new challenges for students and professionals alike. How can we best support nurses at all stages of their careers?

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As we celebrate Nurses Month and International Nurses Day, we also recognize 2022 as The Year of the Nurse Educator — so named by the National League for Nursing. This year’s theme is a reminder of the critical role nurse educators play in preparing the next generation of nurses for practice readiness and success throughout their careers — and it all begins in the classroom.

At Elsevier Health, we know that nurses engage in a life-long journey of ongoing education. We appreciate this opportunity to reflect on the impact of nurses in society and our commitment to supporting nurses through every stage of their career. As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize the unprecedented changes it has represented for the healthcare system, especially for nurses. We are hopeful that changes like the accelerated use of digital solutions that have created efficiencies and reduced administrative workloads will continue to have a positive impact on the industry.

At the same time, increasing patient caseloads have led to severe burnout among nurses, causing many to leave the profession at a time when we were already experiencing a nursing shortage. We strongly believe that listening to our nursing partners in the education and clinical spaces is the most important step toward supporting nurses now and in the future.

What nurses have told us

This is why Elsevier Health conducted extensive research that led to the Clinician of the Future report, giving a voice to nurses and doctors around the globe who shared how the profession has changed since they began practice. In the United States, 85% of nurses who responded believe their role has changed considerably, with 55% indicating that their job has gotten worse over the past 10 years. We also heard clearly from clinicians about what they need to be successful: more resources and support to help them perform their roles and deliver high-quality care over the next decade. According to the report, the top three priority areas for nurses are:

  • Keeping healthcare training and education current (50%)
  • Training in the effective use of digital health technologies to assist in the delivery of patient care remotely (50%)
  • Training in the effective use of data to help deliver better patient care (32%)

Download the Clinician of the Future report

How can we help next-generation nurses master the clinical judgment skills they will need?

Providing nurses with the support they need to confidently enter and remain in the workforce has become an urgent priority for the industry, with the International Council of Nurses estimating that 13 million new nurses will be needed to fill vacant roles left by the global nursing shortage. This shortage has only grown since the start of the pandemic. The need for new nurses is coming at a time when the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) has already seen a dip in pass rates. We acknowledge concerns from nurse educators and nursing students that pass rates will likely drop even further in 2023, when the NCLEX format will change to measure clinical judgment skills as a way to more accurately determine practice readiness.

To ensure that the next generation of nurses are prepared for practice and career success, it is essential for nurse educators to have access to tools and resources proven to enhance their curricula and help students develop clinical judgment skills. A recent NCLEX-RN readiness study in the Journal of Professional Nursing found that nursing programs that include NCLEX preparation components focusing on clinical judgment skills had a higher first-time pass rate on the NCLEX. For nursing programs that leveraged test preparation tools such as the HESI review and assessment solution, students who scored 850 or higher on the HESI exit exam had a first-time pass rate of 96.33% on the NCLEX-RN, and students who scored 900 or higher on the HESI exit exam had a first-time pass rate of 97.29% on the NCLEX-RN.

Innovative educational technology solutions like Shadow Health and Simulation Learning System (SLS) with Virtual Reality (VR) are helping nursing students develop clinical judgment skills and other core competencies, providing a safe and standardized environment for them to practice patient care. Another study on the efficiency of nursing student patient care skills for programs using Shadow Health found that 82% of learners showed an increase in overall efficiency, and 68% showed an increase in identifying the number of correct care plan components after using Shadow Health. The real-life patient scenarios offered in these solutions enable improved development of clinical judgment skills and prepare future nurses for practice in the clinical setting where there isn’t any room for mistakes.

Helping nurses incorporate widespread digital technologies

As nurses make the transition from nursing school to practice, they will inevitably experience an increasingly demanding and challenging environment, with complex patient needs and higher patient-to-nurse ratios than ever before. Novice nurses transitioning to practice often report feeling isolated, frustrated and overwhelmed, which is contributing to an average new graduate nurse turnover rate of 35%.

In addition to the expected stress and pressure associated with the daily role of a nurse, new and unfamiliar technology deployments serve as an additional stressor for both novice and tenured nurses. In our Clinician of the Future report, 84% of nurses agree that the widespread use of digital health technologies will be a challenging burden on their existing responsibilities, and 79% believe that training needs to be overhauled to keep pace with the introduction of new technologies. Yet 51% agree that the widespread use of digital health technologies will enable the positive transformation of healthcare.

For this and many other reasons, it is essential that nursing education continues beyond graduation. For both novice and experienced nurses, organizations must offer educational resources to strengthen practice readiness and empower professional development — but also to teach them how to confidently use new forms of technology. Solutions such as Transition to Practice help nurse residents build professional skills and confidence while also removing common communication barriers between nurses and their support teams. Meanwhile, Shadow Health helps novice nurses strengthen clinical reasoning and therapeutic communication skills. Both solutions aim to enhance practice readiness and quality patient care.

Nurses at Elsevier

Tim MorrisWe are invested in preparing nurses for success throughout their careers. This is why we have dozens of nurses and nurse educators on our Elsevier Health teams who understand nursing needs first-hand and apply their expertise to the development of our world-class education and practice content and solutions. They bring a unique perspective to what nurses need throughout their careers because they know what it takes to create positive patient outcomes.

Tim Morris is a former emergency nurse who has worked at multiple hospitals in England, including Chertsey and King’s College Hospital. He applies his experience as a nurse to his current role as Commercial Portfolio and Partnerships Director of Clinical Solutions at Elsevier:

This knowledge and experience as a nurse remains relevant today in all the work I do with Elsevier Health. I can empathize with nursing professionals, whether they are in a modern teaching hospital or in a rural community in India.

Donna Spivey, DPN, RNDr Donna Spivey, Director of HESI Content Operations at Elsevier, was previously Dean of Nursing at Houston Community College and nursing program director at Lone Star College. She shares a similar sentiment for how she translates her skills to her role:

My experience as a nurse plays a crucial part in my role at Elsevier Health. My real-life patient experience provides me with new ideas and helps me ensure the scientific and medical content included in our products is truly applicable in a real-world setting. We strive to offer the best solutions to prepare students to be practice ready as they enter the healthcare field.

At Elsevier Health, we celebrate nurses’ dedication every day — not just on International Nurses Day or Nurses Month. We are proud to serve nurses throughout their nursing journeys and will remain committed to providing them with educational tools and resources at every stage of their careers.

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