The shortage of experienced nurses has created a challenging environment for teaching in acute care settings. Fewer nurses means more teaching is required of those who are experienced; some nurses report never having a shift without being assigned to act as a preceptor to a student or new graduate. The nursing shortage also means nurses who were new graduates themselves less than a year ago are being called on to teach newer nurses. In their efforts to address the shortage, schools of nursing are increasing enrollment, putting more students in the hospital, and expecting barely experienced nurses to take responsibility for teaching these students about the complexities of clinical practice.

The nursing shortage has prompted many critical care units to hire new graduate nurses who may have had little exposure to critical care in nursing school. This puts new...

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