Predictors of positive clinical performance evaluations of new graduate nurses participating in preceptor orientation programs
Brasler, Mary L
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The purpose of this study was to assess relationships in clinical performance evaluations by new graduate nurses participating in six orientation programs with program components and new graduate characteristics. Some orientation programs offered formal support groups while others offered no support groups. Orientation programs providing designated preceptors for graduate nurses are used widely, but few research studies support their success in assisting graduates to assume staff nurse positions. This study addressed the research question: What variables are related to positive evaluations of clinical performance by new graduate nurses? A sample of 65 new graduate nurses, participating in six preceptor orientation programs in the Baltimore, Md. and Washington, D. C. metropolitan areas, completed pre- and post-orientation questionnaires. Demographic information, self evaluations of clinical performance using the Six Dimension Scale of Nursing Performance (6D Scale), and preceptor evaluations using the Preceptor Characteristics (PC) Tool were collected. The 6D Scale measured six areas of nursing performance. The PC Tool provided a rating of teaching, nursing, and interpersonal skills of preceptors. Variables, correlating highly with the six individual scores of the 6D Scale, were entered into multiple regression analyses. A total of 11 variables were identified as predictors of clinical performance evaluation scores. The most useful predictor for all six independent variables was support provided by other nurse friends, or classmates. Preceptor skills and emotional support provided by the preceptor were predictors for five areas. Participation in formal support groups, however, was not found to be a predictor. Major implications for practice included 1) viewing support groups as a bridge to assist graduates in developing new support systems within the work setting, 2) developing objective measures of preceptors' skills, and 3) requiring preparation courses of all primary and alternate preceptors. Major recommendations for future study included 1) investigating the relationship of preceptor education and experience with graduates' evaluation scores, and 2) further exploring the negative relationship of support group participation and evaluation scores.
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