A unit-based staged orientation program was used as an adjunct to the graduate nurse residency program at a surgical ICU. The authors describe the implementation and outcomes of this orientation program.

The shortage of nurses is pervasive. The Health Resources and Services Administration1 projects a shortage of 1 million registered nurses (RNs) by the year 2020, meaning that only 64% of the projected demand is expected to be met. Because of the nationwide shortage, hospitals are having difficulty finding experienced nurses to fill vacancies. This lack of available experienced RNs has led to an influx of graduate nurses into the acute care setting across the United States. In 2005, 40% of RNs hired in hospitals that were members of the Greater New York Hospital Association were graduate nurses.2 

Although graduate nurses have limited experience when they enter nursing practice, they are typically expected to be responsible for a...

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