Ask the expert: Setting the stage for new nurses

Nurse Leader Insider, June 13, 2011

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This week, Jim Hansen, MSN, RN-BC, discuss how to set the stage for engaging new nurses in a classroom setting.

Q: How do I create an engaging classroom setting for new nurses?

A: The first impression is the first step in engaging new graduates. This applies not only to you as the instructor, but also to the atmosphere of your classroom. The conditions of the classroom are just as important to the retention of information as the content itself. These is a reason learners seek out a library or quiet coffee shop to study rather than a noisy living room with the television on. Make sure the room is as conducive to learning as possible.

The following tips may appear straightforward, but they are often overlooked components to setting the stage:

  • Space is of utmost importance when preparing for a workshop, so reserve a room that is adequate in size. Too small a space will inhibit graduates’ ability to interact and spread out, whereas too large a space can feel impersonal and restrain new nurses from asking questions, gaining clarification, or speaking up about needing assistance.
  • Distractions should be kept to a minimum. Although not all distractions can be avoided, steps can be made to reduce them as much as possible. Visit the room ahead of time and picture the day of class. Consider whether there will be foot traffic through the room from nonparticipants or other activities happening next door that can create noise or distractions.

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Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Associate Editor Jaclyn Beck at and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.

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