The Nursing Transition from Classroom to Clinical Floor Involves a Risk of Mistakes

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Equipping your care providers with a quality residency program at the start of their careers is one way to prevent that unfortunate combination of actions from even beginning, reducing potential adverse patient outcomes. In a recent conversation, Kimberly Sulger, HealthStream’s AVP of Clinical Solution Success Management, shares her perspective on why mistakes are so easily made and how hospital onboarding programs play a vital role in reducing errors. Here’s an excerpt from the article based on this interview.

Failure to Integrate the Entire Picture Results in Mistakes

The transition from the classroom to the clinical floor can be extremely challenging for new graduate nurses, and it is easy for them to unwittingly make serious mistakes. Sulger attributes this to new nurses’ tendencies to be task-oriented, follow orders without questioning them, and not assimilate the entire picture.

“New graduate nurses and nurses entering a new environment tend to be extremely task-oriented,” says Sulger. “This can become problematic when someone becomes so focused on completing the task in front of them that they fail to ask questions and assimilate to the environment and the full clinical presentation.” Sulger explains that new nurses often have not developed the skills to consider the full picture for each patient—maybe an order made for a patient needs to change based on an upcoming surgery, a change in vital signs, or the discovery of a contraindication. Without the skills to assess both the patient and environment, new nurses often miss the signs that necessitate adjustments to a patient’s

care plan, resulting in adverse outcomes.

The full article also includes:

  • Preventing the Cascade of Actions that Leads to Errors
  • Onboarding Impacts Outcomes


Download the article here.


Request Demo