Prelicensure Externship to Increase Competence and Retention in Graduate Nurses
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Competency is an essential part of nursing. It improves patient outcomes and allows nurses to provide safe, efficient, and skillful care. Lack of experience and education can limit a nurse's ability to critically think, reason, and judge, leading to poor patient outcomes. Studies have shown a gap between theoretical and nursing practice knowledge in new graduate students. This evidence-based quality improvement project at a Midwest hospital aimed to measure the effects of an externship program for prelicensure nurses on competency levels and retention compared to those not participating in the externship. The sample included fifty externs and thirty-seven non-externs who completed the Casey-Fink Graduate Nurse Experience Survey. The results determined that a prelicensure externship has a statistically significant but small effect on competency and retention. The hospital site can use this improvement experience to determine whether continuing externship programs could improve the overall competence and retention of new graduate nurses.
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