Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Wendy Hochreiter


dedicated preceptors, nurse residency, nurse retention


Research and evidence support the use of dedicated preceptors during new nurse residency programs to increase nurse retention after the orientation period. A small rural Illinois hospital introduced a nurse internship program in 2017 without the use of dedicated preceptors. The program continued throughout 2018 and nurse retention did not improve as anticipated by the hospital leadership. In early 2019, this author collaborated with the education department to implement a new nurse orientation program that introduced the use of dedicated preceptors. An education bundle was developed and presented to the dedicated preceptors outlining expectations and an orientation checklist. Pre-implementation focus groups were conducted to identify shared themes expressed by both the dedicated preceptors and new nurse orientees. In March 2019, the hospital merged with a larger hospital corporation. The leadership of the larger hospital was not in alignment with the use of dedicated preceptors because of financial considerations. In May of 2019, in response to high nurse turn over and a shortage of nurses, this author implemented the new nurse residency program using dedicated preceptors as a doctoral project. However, by May 2019, many new graduate nurses finished orientation and did not remain with the organization. The nurse residency program with dedicated preceptors was developed and implemented but was unable to be operationalized due to financial considerations and difficulty coordinating the work schedules of new graduates and dedicated preceptors. As a result, no positive or negative impact on the retention of new nurse graduates resulted. In spring 2020, the hospital administration will reimplement a newly developed nurse residency program using dedicated preceptors that was developed during the doctoral project. Statements from the pre- and post- project focus groups indicated support for dedicated preceptors. Utilization of the comments collected during the focus groups resulted in identification of common themes and will provide a base for an innovative pathway for onboarding new nurse graduates.

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