Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 17(2) May 2004 : 60-68.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2004.16268
Innovation in Leadership

Retaining and Transferring Nursing Knowledge through a Hospital Internship Program

Mary Murphy, Patricia Petryshen and Nancy Read

Abstract

In healthcare, organizations recognize that human capital is their most valuable asset. The importance of investing in knowledge workers is imperative given the current and future shortage of health professionals. Knowledge acquisition occurs through continuous learning and the transfer of information from those who are highly experienced to those who are less qualified.

At St. Michael's Hospital, two innovative and unique programs were created for the transfer of knowledge. The first was a nurse fellowship program that enabled experienced nurses to spend two to three months learning new skills to advance clinical practice. The second was a nurse internship program in which new graduates spend three to four months in their area of hire to enhance clinical practice through skill development and prioritization of patient care needs. This paper describes both programs and presents an evaluation of the new-graduate internship program as an opportunity for professional development and career enhancement. For nurse interns, the program promotes self-esteem and professional confidence, improves job satisfaction and rewards nurses for their contribution. For nurse preceptors, the program provides job enrichment, experience in teaching and recognition by the organization and peers that they are knowledge experts.

 

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