(HealthDay News) –A structured internship program and mentoring by preceptor and unit-base clinical nurse specialists is helpful to new graduate nurses orienting to a specialty area, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Penelope Glynn, Ph.D., of Regis College in Weston, and Sheila Silva, M.S.N., of Norwood Hospital, both in Massachusetts, interviewed eight new recent nurse graduates who participated in the 16-week New Graduate Emergency Department Internship Program between 2006 and 2007.

According to the researchers, the internship program offered the new graduates the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills in a specialty area, to gain proficiency, and to assist in role transition. The interviewees also reported the important role a unit-base clinical nurse specialist and nurse preceptor played in the internship program.

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“As the predicted nursing shortage evolves during the next five to 10 years, innovative programs will be needed to prepare new graduate nurses for varied clinical areas, including critical care,” the authors write. “Developing the best orientation program possible is vital to the new graduate’s successful transition and retention in these areas.”

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