Tapping Into Novice and Early-Career Nurses to Address Shortages

Tapping Into Novice and Early-Career Nurses to Address Shortages

In the face of deepening clinical staffing shortages TAG MedStaffing on staff shortages, seasonal variations, and unforeseen absences , healthcare facilities are at a critical juncture. The demand for healthcare services is on the rise, driven by an aging population and evolving care models. However, many facilities remain hesitant to engage nurses who are new to the field, often citing concerns about their level of experience. In the process, they may unintentionally overlook the immense potential that lies within newly graduated nurses and those with less than two years of practice.

Nevertheless, given the intensifying workforce deficits and the aging nursing population nearing retirement, it is increasingly clear that discounting these valuable groups may be shortsighted. With the implementation of proper training and role matching, novice and early-career nurses can indeed play a pivotal role in alleviating the staffing shortages that currently challenge healthcare systems.

Nurse caring for a patient in a hospital

Leveraging Early-Career Nurses

Nurses with 0-2 years of experience represent another untapped resource in addressing staffing shortages. While some employers traditionally require 2+ years of experience, this creates a hiring Catch-22. Nurses need experience to get hired, yet they can’t gain experience without being given a chance.

Early-career nurses bring fresh perspectives and a willingness to learn. They are also more open to working overnight and variable shifts, making them instrumental in maintaining continuous care for patients. Furthermore, they are often more willing to consider roles in rural or underserved regions and positions with lower pay scales. For organizations with budget constraints or those in less desirable locations, matching roles to the level of experience is the key to harnessing their potential. These nurses play a crucial role in building community trust and ensuring care continuity.

As the senior nursing workforce approaches retirement, early-career nurses will prove essential in filling the impending gap. By investing in their growth and development, organizations can unlock their talent and dedication, which can make an immediate and positive impact. Rather than dismissing them as too inexperienced, organizations should recognize them as the workforce of the future.

Integrating New Graduate Nurses

One of the most promising avenues for addressing the shortage of experienced nursing staff is the implementation of transition programs Blog post by Wolters Kluwer on nursing transition programs , for new graduate nurses. These programs serve as the bridge between academic education and hands-on clinical practice, transforming novice nurses into competent and confident clinicians.

Education partners and health facilities can collaborate to ensure that these programs offer a well-rounded experience. This experience should encompass classroom learning, simulation exercises, and preceptorships. The advantages of integrating new graduate nurses into the workforce are manifold:


Newly graduated nurses are quick to adopt and adapt to new technologies and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). In an era where healthcare is increasingly reliant on digital solutions, their tech-savviness is an invaluable asset.


These nurses are eager to gain experience and are often willing to cover less desirable shifts. Their enthusiasm and commitment to their profession are undeniable.


Structured onboarding and mentorship programs have been shown to boost new graduate nurse retention rates by over 50%. This not only helps organizations maintain a stable workforce but also reduces recruitment costs.

Skills gained through these transition programs go beyond technical proficiency. Novice nurses develop critical skills such as clinical judgment, time management, and the ability to utilize evidence-based practices. Leading hospitals that have invested in robust new graduate training have witnessed retention rates soaring as high as 95%. This underscores the undeniable value of investing in transition training to build the future healthcare workforce.

Unlocking The Potential Of Novice And Early-Career Nurses

As healthcare systems grapple with the ongoing challenges of staffing shortages, it’s imperative to reevaluate the approach to recruiting and nurturing nursing talent. Novice and early-career nurses possess the energy, adaptability, and dedication needed to bridge the workforce gaps. By offering comprehensive transition programs and matching roles to their experience levels, healthcare facilities not only address immediate staffing needs but also invest in the long-term sustainability of the nursing workforce. Embracing these nurses as the future of healthcare not only benefits healthcare organizations but also ensures that patients continue to receive high-quality care in the face of evolving healthcare demands and demographics.

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