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Making the Transition

A Critical Care Skills Program to Support Newly Hired Nurses

Short, Kathleen, MSN, CNS, AOCNS; Freedman, Kara, MSN, CNS, PCCN; Matays, Jennie, MSN, CNS, CCRN, CCNS; Rosamilia, Melody, MSN, RN, OCN; Wade, Kara, MSN, CNS, OCN, AOCNS, PCCN

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000444
Feature Article

Purpose: This article describes the impact of a hands-on critical care skills day led by clinical nurse specialist (CNS) to enhance junior nurses’ clinical skills. Program objectives included providing specialized skills training to meet the needs of high-acuity patient population and reviewing nurse-sensitive indicator–associated care bundles with the goal of increasing compliance.

Description of the Project: An 8-hour program of lecture and hands-on skills was developed. Curriculum included nursing-sensitive indicators, sepsis management, complex tubes and drains, airway management, and emergency response. Clinical nurse specialists mentored senior nurses to colead program planning and execution. The program has been offered 9 times. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected on attendees.

Outcome: Quantitative data analysis showed that 89% of the assessed components were affected by the program. Medium effect was noted in defibrillator skills, retrieving items from code care, care of suicidal patient, and sepsis screening. Qualitative data based on attendee survey are also presented and analyzed. Decreases in indwelling catheter utilization on select units are discussed.

Conclusion: The CNS has the responsibility to ensure nursing practice is reflective of hospital policy and current evidence. This program demonstrates the impact of CNSs in staff education, mentorship, and competency assessment.

Author Affiliation: Clinical Nurse Specialists, Division of Evidence-based Practice, Department of Nursing (Mss Short, Freedman, and Matays), and Clinical Nurse IVs, Division of Critical Care Nursing, Department of Nursing (Mss Rosamilia and Wade), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Kathleen Short, MSN, CNS, AOCNS, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Memorial Hospital 17th Floor Nursing Station 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 (

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