There was a time when new graduate nurses would start their careers on the medical-surgical floor. There they were expected to hone their skills and learn how to practice nursing. Only then would they consider a specialty such as the emergency department or the critical care unit. However, in the current health care environment with the nursing shortage and aging nursing workforce, new graduate nurses are being hired into specialty units.

At Children’s Hospital Boston in the cardiovascular intensive care unit (CICU) we have experienced this new trend. In July 2007 we hired 10 new graduate nurses for the CICU. In response to the influx of these new graduates entering into practice in the CICU, we developed a formal mentor program with the purpose of identifying expert nurses to share experience, knowledge, passion, and professionalism with nurses new to the CICU. The mentor...

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