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There is a New Nurse in Town ... You!

Let Me Get The Nurse…??!!

The most frightening moment I experienced as a new graduate occurred during the second week of my new job on a step-down telemetry floor. My patient was three days post-op after open heart surgery. I had just entered his room when he said, “I am having some trouble breathing.” My first thought was, “let me get the nurse!” But, of course, I was the nurse! It may seem strange to accomplish something that you have worked hard for, only to feel an overwhelming sense of fear, anxiety and doubt, but it is not unusual.

Your First Year

Nancy Spector, Director of Education Innovations, and her team at NCSBN completed a comprehensive research study looking at the challenges that new nurses encounter during their first year of practice. This research laid the foundation for a program called Transition to Practice. Each course within the program provides new nurses guidance and confidence while transitioning into their new role. 

Communication & Teamwork

Course 1 takes a look at how communication and teamwork prevent medical errors and improve patient safety. Health care environments are complex.  Nurses need to use effective communication and work cooperatively with other health care providers to ensure positive patient outcomes.

Patient- & Family-centered Care

The best patient outcomes happen when the patient and their support system are involved in their care. Course 2 explains how a nurse involves patients and families in decision making, and how to assess and address health literacy. It provides you with techniques that protect patients and minimize errors. 

Evidence-based Practice

Do you know how to explain the connection between research evidence and practice guidelines? Would you like to know how to find answers to clinical questions and write researchable clinical questions when you see a need in practice? Course 3 will show you how evidence-based practice utilizes your curiosity and experience to bridge the research-practice gap. 

Quality Improvement

Course 4 discusses how nursing quality initiatives are used to facilitate change and improve patient care. As a new nurse, you will want to contribute to the culture of safety by raising concerns as they appear, and developing evaluation plans and solutions. 


Technology powerfully facilitates communication and decision making in the clinical workflow. Although technology does not replace skillful nursing care, it may provide a safer and more informative health care environment. Course 5 discusses how informatics supports the health care team, and how to use information technology to manage patient information and connected care tools to enhance health outcomes. 

Now it’s Your Turn

Are you a new nurse with less than a year in clinical practice? What was the most difficult challenge as you transitioned to practice? 

Are you about to graduate? What are you most nervous about as you enter into clinical practice?

NCSBN’s Transition to Practice course is a great way to begin your preparation for your new role!