What are Employers Expectations for a New Grad Nurse

They are looking for a new grad nurse to be competent, proficiency will come! This will happen with time.


Expectations for competency would include:

  • Be able to use the nursing process: talked about earlier: Assess Diagnosis, Plan, and Evaluate. Can develop a care plan and follow an existing plan.
  • Recognize your own limitations and know your abilities: As a new nurse you will not know all the answers or what to do in all situations, but you are expected to know when to ask for help and to know when you are in over your head and to seek assistance. Best not to fake it here, it is expected for you to ask for help! It may involve your patient’s safety if you don’t.
  • Have enough knowledge to provide safe care and for decision-making. You must know when an emergency or complication is occurring and where to go for help.
  • Be able to communicate effectively. Patients and family members will need support and understanding.  You will need to function in a health care team: collaborating, coordinating and delegating. All require effective communication.
  • Be able to work with others. Do I really need to elaborate on this statement?
  • Be able to provide complete and accurate documentation. Good chance this will involve computers. You need to be somewhat familiar with computer use. Training will be provided to the facilities software and documentation system.
  • Be responsible: show up on time, be accountable to your own actions. Have a work ethic and not abuse sick days…. No abuse of lunch time…… Work your share of holidays, be ethical in your work ………do your share.
  • Have a basic nursing skill set: Be able to perform basic nursing skills: how to give meds, IV’s, place catheters and gastric tubes, change dressings, suction patients, general hygiene skills for the patient , feed and transfer patients to name a few. Others specific to your place of work will be needed and possibly taught on the job or in orientation.
  •  Self-motivated / able to prioritize and manage time efficiently
  • Able to get the job done in a reasonable time: Most employers will understand that a new grad RN may be slower at first. But time is money and your employer will not be happy with too many overtime hours on the clock…..if everyone else is getting the job done on time. Most employers will offer an orientation period for new grad RN’s. This may vary from 6 weeks to 1 year. During this time your patient assignment or workload will be less. It will give you a chance to get use to the job and gain confidence. At the end of the orientation period it will be expected that you can handle the same load as the other RN’s performing the same job as you. I caution all new nurses to look for jobs that offer a long and thorough orientation period. Studies have shown that employers who offer no orientation period to new grads, end up with new grads that quit within the first two years.

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