Posted on August 22, 2015

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has introduced a program that is helping newly qualified nurses make the transition from the classroom to the clinical environment.

The HMC Preceptored Internship Program supports newly graduated nurses from the University of Calgary-Qatar (UCQ) by helping them successfully move from university to the professional world. Preceptorships are short-term relationships between new graduates, known as interns, and experienced nurses who have completed a specialized program that supports them in creating a safe learning environment to practice theory, clinical skills and decision making.

As interns make the transition from student to staff nurse, role modelling and reflective practice are used to encourage and enhance learning and professional development. The 12-month program is helping new graduates develop practical nursing knowledge and clinical competences. Ms. Jacqueline Sullivan, Director of Nursing (Education) at HMC, says: “The intern program promotes communication and leadership skills resulting in independence and confidence in the workplace. Nurse educators and preceptors are working collaboratively with interns to strengthen their clinical skills and enhance their application of critical thinking to nursing practice.”

Each month, new graduates enrolled in the program attend lectures designed to assist them in developing the skills and competencies needed to translate scientific evidence learned in the university setting into general practice and clinical decision making. Ms. Jamila Hassan, a Staff Nurse at Hamad General Hospital’s Pediatric Medical Day Unit, is a graduate of UCQ’s Bachelor of Nursing program and is currently enrolled in the HMC Preceptored Internship Program. She says the program is a unique opportunity to apply the theory learned in the classroom to real-world nursing experiences with patients.

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“The internship at HMC has been really effective in helping us transition from the educational to the professional environment, which requires a lot more responsibility and autonomy. The professional environment is not as controlled as the educational one and this program provides the opportunity to have hands-on experience with patients who have various requirements which we must manage,” said Ms. Hassan. “Having a preceptor is very helpful in the beginning of our professional careers as it guides us through processes and complex cases, which as students we wouldn’t be familiar with,” added Ms. Hassan.

The program is part of HMC’s commitment to delivering the safest, most effective and most compassionate care to each and every patient and is helping new graduates successfully make the transition to the work setting through providing greater preparation and more realistic expectations. Novice nurses are socialized into the nursing culture and acquire and hone the competencies they need to practice safely and effectively.

“Previous experiences across the world have shown that graduate nurse internship programs increase nurses’ job satisfaction and retention and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes,” said Ms. Sullivan.  

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