03/01/2012 - Newly qualified nurses - how can we support them ?

#NurChat to discuss "Newly qualified nurses - how can we support them?" 03/01/2012 8pm

We can all remember those first shifts as a newly qualified staff nurse as they are very scary times – the feeling that you are now “out there” practising as a registered nurse is very awe inspiring as a newly qualified nurse. It is vital that newly qualified nurses are supported and mentored through these times as “Building confidence is an essential part of the transition from nursing student to qualified practitioner.” (Nursing Standard) A Scottish scheme called Flying Start sets out to ease the transition between being a student nurse and qualified practitioner, with online learning, structured study days and mentor support. The program requires nurses to show evidence of learning in 10 areas to complete preceptorship  and ensures that newly qualified nurses have mentors and protected learning time. This scheme has now been extended to England.

 So how important is it that we support our newly qualified colleagues through  this very important time? Preceptorship programmes exist to support newly qualified nurses but are these sufficient ? And are there enough of these programmes for  newly qualified nurses to access ?  What sort of things do preceptiorship programmes cover and is this enough ? Do newly qualified nurses have mentors as a matter of course, especially within the current climate? And is there a difference between what  the NHS and what the private sector offer to newly qualified nurses?  


This chat kicked off by asking if we need to support newly qualified nurses. The general feeling was that newly qualified nurses do need support and some questioned the amount of practical experience students get and felt that because of this they did need support.

The idea of a probationary year was put forward and this was generally liked but it was agreed that mentors are key. It was mentioned that universities and the NHS need to work more closely in order for this to happen effectively – the skills passport was mentioned as a solution to this.

Preceptorship was also discussed and in particular the Flying Start programme.  Some NurChatters had heard of this and had accessed it through both the NHS and private sector. It was stated though that the flying start scheme did not seem to be very well promoted but did provide lots of structured reflection.

Newly qualified nurses in the private sector was discussed a little and it seems that (especially in Scotland) newly qualified nurses are increasingly being employed in nursing homes.  Concerns over well trained mentors and supervision were raised and it was suggested that maybe CQC has a responsibility to ensure this happens- this ledto a debate over CQC responsibilities in this area.  

Rotations were discussed and some had very positive experiences of rotations post qualifying.

A lack of mentors was identified by the participants as being a hurdle – some stated they would happily act as voluntary mentors to newly qualified nurses and ideas of how this could happen included using social networking, skype, and face to face time.  Who should be responsible for this though was very much a debate and suggestions ranged from universities for 1 year post registration, to CQC and the NMC and a sigle qualifying body to support newly qualified nurses.

The chat closed by asking what participants would take away from the chat and how would they support newly qualified nurses? Suggestions included:

“Don’t be afraid to offer your knowledge you may not be a mentor but we all have something to offer and share” @kathjlo

We need to lobby more regionally and nationally” @riffraff1985

“Important thing is that all nurses share responsibility for developing others – whatever grade” @amnerisuk

“Firmly believe we do ALL have a responsibility but frankly some need to be supported on how to support” @ SpinalNurse

Summary by Teresa Chinn RN

Chat transctript (Via Storify)

20/12/2011 - Should Nurses Be Healthy Role Models?

#Nurchat to discuss “Should nurses be healthy role models?” – 20/12/2011 8pm

So as we are nearing Christmas and this is the last #NurChat of the year we are going to be discussing if nurses should act as healthy role models.  This is very apt as we enter the new year as it is traditionally a time for lifestyle changes – so what resolutions will you make?  Do you feel that as a nurse you should not smoke, exercise regularly and eat sensibly?  Or do you feel that this is not applicable at all?

An article on the Nursing Times website earlier this year by Steve Ford quoted Paul Miller Managing Director of Leicester City Community Health Service Business Unit as saying“We are out there promoting healthy lifestyles, but actually a lot of our staff are not doing what they are trained to do and actually ignoring their professional knowledge, completely and utterly”

In 2008 the QNI launched a campaign called Nursing No 1 - to encourage nurses to adopt healthier lifestyles some links to articles about this campaign are below, And in regard to this years Flu campaign which focussed on getting staff to have the flu jab Dame Christine Beasley Chief nursing Officer for England stated “ as trusted nurses and midwives, you all play a key role in helping people make decisions about their healthcare. By getting vaccinated yourself, you are then able to discuss the vaccination with your patients and clients from a first hand perspective “ This clearly shows that nursing bodies are concerned about nurses health and about nurses being good role models

So should we as nurses be expected to live healthy lifestyles?  Is this a realistic expectation ? Or should we be free to make our own lifestyle choices regardless of the impact on public health?

Thank you to @Hollybest1 for this great end of year discussion.

Click on the picture to download a prinatble PDF for notice boards

Below are a few links to articles that you may like to read prior to the discussion.  Please feel free toadd to this is you find anything else that is relevant and useful.

District nurses setting a rubbish example on public health - Nursing Times

A messgae for nurses and midwives - Dame Christine Beasley Chief Nursing Officer for England

Barriers to healthy eating in the nursing profession: Part 1 - Nursing Standard

Barriers to healthy eating in the nursing profession: Part 2 -Nursing Standard

Childrens nurse selected for national ice hockey team - Nursing Times


This #NurChat focussed on whether nurses should be healthy role models.  The chat started by asking if we should expect nurses to be healthy role models? Answers were diverse – from “yes” to “we should be realistic” and it was suggested that being treated by a smoking nurse for smoking cessation advice was not a good incentive to quit.

The NMC Code of conduct was raised in particular that as nurses we should not bring the profession into disrepute – this theme reoccurred throughout the chat. It was put forward that as professionals we have a shared code but not a shared set of values.

Barriers to being healthy role models were mentioned – stressful jobs, shift patterns, tiredness.   It was agreed that the constraints of the job can make it difficult to chose a better or healthy option.

During the chat definitions of role models were touched upon – some suggested leading by example for people who share your interests; other suggestions were a person who serves as an example.

The way in which nurses act as role models in other areas was seen as very important – being caring and compassionate. It was suggested that nurses should be seen as role models for advocacy and dignity rather than physical roles.

It was also suggested that maybe being overweight or a smoker may give us greater empathy with our patients – this was agreed to be a good thing.

The chat concluded by asking nurchatters what they would takeaway from the chat – answers ranged from “we are all human” to “we are not just role models at work but in life”

Summary by Teresa Chinn RN

Chat transcript (via Storify)