Nurse Educator Beth Ludwig, MSN, barely slept one night recently. She had spent the past three months mentoring a group of 16 new nurses at Weiss, and they were scheduled to “graduate” the next day.
The program, called “Nurturing the New Graduate,” began at Weiss in 2007. The program lasts 12 weeks, and partners new nurses with specialized tutors known as preceptors for four out of five days every week. On the fifth day, the new nurses gather as a class to discuss their experiences, ask questions, and learn from each other and from guest lecturers.
The program’s organizers schedule lectures with physicians, therapists and other nurses to teach the new graduates “what patients are actually going through,” said Cynthia Gonzalez, MSN, a nurse educator who helps organize the program. “We try to use all aspects of medicine and nursing.”
For Ludwig, seeing the new nurses evolve over the 12 weeks left a major impression. “This group is one of the most resilient and fantastic groups to ever come through this hospital,” she said. “They’ve really embraced healthcare.”
New Weiss nurses attend a graduation
During the ceremony, the graduates broke into six groups and gave brief presentations on the six values that drive Weiss: accountability, excellence, innovation, integrity, respect and safety. “We don’t often consciously decide what we do everyday. We just do our job, and our values are embedded in that,” said Ludwig.
New nurses were recognized for their accomplishments at a recent "graduation"
Leah Holmes, an ICU nurse, spoke first about accountability. “The new graduate program gave us the confidence to say we’re going to be accountable. I went to school for this, I know this, and I’m going to trust my instincts.”
The nurses also expressed thankfulness for the program and their educators. “We’re not only learning how much we didn’t learn in nursing school, but how to function in a new world—Weiss world,” said Zoe Smith.
Ludwig is grateful, too. “I am so confident that these nurses will live these values everyday. I give a personal thank you to each and every one. You’ll be in my heart,” she told them at the ceremony.
CEO Jeff Steinberg, MD, was also in attendance. “I’m very proud that you’ve chosen Weiss and want to be a part of our family,” he said, addressing the graduates. “I know how central nurses are to patient care. Thank you and congratulations.”