Your new nurses are entering the workforce during a time of significant change and demand. The less experience these nurses have, the more daunting this challenge can be. Even pre-pandemic, an estimated 17.5 percent of nurses were leaving their positions within their first year.1 Building confidence in your new nurses is an important factor for nurse retention. Given the tight labor market for nurses and the cascading logistical challenges that come with staffing shortages, it’s critical that you take a proactive approach to confidence-building and the retention of new nurses.2
To help you build confident new nurses, we’ve identified useful strategies, and researched their benefits and ways to facilitate them.
4 ways to increase confidence in new nurses
Consider these four effective methods of building confidence within new nurses.
1. Promote collaboration
Today’s nurses are expected to shoulder a significant amount of responsibility, and this can often feel like they must shoulder responsibilities alone. By implementing collaborative work opportunities and teamwork activities, you can show your nurses that their responsibility is a shared one and that there is a network of support behind them. According to the World Health Professions Alliance, workplace collaboration is a driving factor behind job satisfaction, reduced stress and burnout prevention. Emphasizing that your nurses are not alone is an effective way to boost their confidence.
Creating clear pathways of communication is a great place to start when promoting collaboration. When you give nurses a platform to share work methods that have and have not worked for them, you create a place where ideas can be exchanged. Additionally, consider bringing your team together as a group to establish team goals. When nurses know that their performance is contributing to a group goal, not only does their job satisfaction improve, but so do their patient outcomes.3
2. Provide professional development opportunities
Knowledge and experience play a big role in a nurse’s confidence level. When nurses are confident in the training they’ve received, they are more confident in the skills that resulted from their training. By providing your nurses with opportunities for advanced education, whether it’s skills development or furthering their degree, you strengthen the foundation of their confidence and show that you have confidence in their potential.
Rasmussen University offers your organization ways to reward your nurses for their hard work through educational benefits like the Corporate and Professional Achievement Grants and no-cost self-directed assessments.* These educational opportunities are a great way to not only boost your nurses’ skills, but also their own confidence in their skills.
3. Establish mentorship opportunities
One of the greatest resources for any new nurse is the experienced nurses and supervisors within their organization. For new nurses, the benefits of mentorships include increased familiarity with the processes and procedures of their workplace, further insight into their own strengths and weaknesses, and a designated resource to call upon in moments of uncertainty.
When encouraging mentorship between nurses, clarity is a key factor. It’s important that each new nurse has a clearly designated seasoned mentor. When the mentor-to-mentee relationship isn’t clear, nurses feel less confident about who to approach for help. Try setting up regular opportunities for new nurses to meet with their experienced mentor for both professional and casual interactions—the professional interactions will increase productivity, while the casual interactions will encourage comfort and honesty between the pair. Finally, consider offering mentorship training to your experienced nurses. This will better prepare them to advise their new colleagues. Check out these approaches to mentoring for a more in-depth exploration.
4. Show appreciation
When shouldering a high level of responsibility, it can be disheartening not to receive appreciation for your work. Simple acts of gratitude have been shown to improve mental well-being and self-esteem.4 Regardless of the method, showing your nurses that they are genuinely appreciated can remind them of the reasons they pursued nursing in the first place.
Providing your team with opportunities to express and receive gratitude can help make gratitude a mainstay in your work environment. Whether your gratitude is expressed through verbal sharing in team meetings or through direct written or digital expressions, regular appreciation goes a long way. Another way you can show that you appreciate your nurses is by providing workplace benefits such as pathways to advancement, or mental health and wellness support. Check out this article on how to celebrate your staff for more creative ideas.
Nurses play a vital role in a vital industry. When they begin to lose confidence in their skills and the impact they make, they may begin to feel disconnected from what drew them to nursing in the first place. Now you have some effective ideas on how you can build and sustain confidence in your new nurses, creating a stronger and longer-lasting team.
Positioning your entire staff for personal and professional growth through educational benefits is a great way to maintain a productive and sustainable workforce. Rasmussen University can help you take the steps toward doing just that. For more details, or to request information on becoming a Rasmussen University alliance, visit: rasmussen.edu/workforce-solutions
1 Christine Kovner, Carol Brewer, Farida Fatehi & Jin Jun, “What Does Nurse Turnover Rate Mean and What is the Rate?” Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice, August 2014. [accessed August 2022] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265057015_What_Does_Nurse_Turnover_Rate_Mean_and_What_Is_the_Rate
2 Susan Kreimer, “Nursing shortage looms large and projected to intensify in next 18 months: report,” Fierce Healthcare, April 5, 2022. [accessed August 2022] https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/providers/nursing-shortage-looms-large-and-projected-intensify-next-year-and-half-report
3 “Why is Teamwork in Healthcare Important?” Global Resource Center. [accessed August 2022] https://www.hrhresourcecenter.org/HRH_Info_Teamwork.html
4 Summer Allen, “The Science of Gratitude,” Greater Good Science Center, May 2018. [accessed August 2022] https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/images/uploads/GGSC-JTF_White_Paper-Gratitude-FINAL.pdf?_ga=2.82610261.2142947331.1637096170-1362583773.1634590861
* Rasmussen University Start Strong Tuition Savings Terms and Conditions
- Students who enroll through the Corporate Channel are eligible for a $149 grant toward each unique self-directed assessment attempt within their degree program.
- Student must maintain continuous enrollment to remain eligible. A student who withdraws and re-enrolls later will not be eligible for the grant.
- All self-directed assessment requirements and restrictions specified in the Rasmussen University Catalog and Enrollment Agreement apply.
- Students must meet entrance requirements for the academic program in which they are enrolling.
- Students must attempt a minimum of six faculty-led credits per quarter in order to gain access to the self-directed assessment options.
- Grant recipients who also qualify for other grants and scholarships such as Military, Corporate Alliance, or Change a Life may use both.
- Grant is awarded quarterly, with no expiration date. (Once a self-directed assessment is accessed, students have 45 days to complete each assessment.)
- Grant is non-transferrable, and no substitution or cash equivalent/refund is allowed.
- Credits earned through self-directed assessment offerings will likely not transfer to another institution; acceptance of transfer credit is always at the discretion of the receiving institution.