This month, 17 registered nurses at Children's Hospital Boston will become the first group to graduate from the New Graduate Orientation Program (NGOP). The 22-week program, which enrolls newly hired nurses from Medicine Patient Services and Surgical Programs, was created to counteract the current nationwide nursing shortage by promoting nurse retention at Children's. "Our hope is that we give newly graduated nurses the skills and knowledge they require to do their jobs successfully—and to stay at Children's in the future," explains Marcie Brostoff, MS, RN, director of Education/Staff Development.
Wendy Ouellette, RN, staff development specialist, coordinates NGOP, incorporating academics, direct patient care and simulation-based exercises that are a new component of nurse training. Ouellette and others from Staff Development lead the simulation classes in a newly renovated lab in Farley 516. Here, students practice caring for "SimMan" or "Sim Baby," which are manikins that have computer-generated symptoms, fluctuating vital signs, cyanotic episodes—even seizures. Simulator coordinators can speak through a microphone attached to a mannequin, allowing nurses to practice communicating with patients.
In addition to educating new nurses through lectures, simulated learning and real hands-on experience, the program aims to make newcomers feel supported in their roles as caregivers. That support has made a difference to Megan Cayer, RN, who started working at Children's in July. "I'm never going to feel like I'm all alone now that I've been through this," she says. Cayer's colleague, Teresa Donahue, RN, a nurse in Hematology/ Oncology, also feels more connected now that she's completed the training. She says, "The biggest thing I've taken away from this is that I now have a large group of people I can count on."