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Nurse Transition Program: Molding future AF nurses

U.S. Air Force Major General Dorothy Hogg, the Deputy Surgeon General and Chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., speaks at the graduation ceremony of the Nurse Transitioning Program held at the Tampa General Hospital Nov. 29, 2017. During her speech, Hogg challenged the Airmen to provide evidence-based care to their patients, as well as to continue learning industry best practices

U.S. Air Force Major General Dorothy Hogg, the Deputy Surgeon General and Chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., speaks at the graduation ceremony of the Nurse Transitioning Program held at the Tampa General Hospital Nov. 29, 2017. During her speech, Hogg challenged the Airmen to provide evidence-based care to their patients, as well as to continue learning industry best practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Major General Dorothy Hogg, the Deputy Surgeon General and Chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., attended the Nurse Transition Program graduation held at the Tampa General Hospital Nov. 29, 2017, following a visit to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

The graduation commemorated the 19 Airmen who transitioned from being student nurses to professional nurses during the 10-week program, where they gained experience in their career field.

“When we get new nurses who have less than one year of work experience, we bring them into this transition program to solidify the foundation they got from their college experience,” said Hogg. “We bring them to facilities like Tampa General to get a good diverse clinical experience where they can start to hone their technical and critical thinking skills.”

NTP is available to Airmen who earned their baccalaureate degree in nursing from an accredited college program and helps them transition into their new role by building confidence in their newly acquired skills.

“Studies have shown that when nurses first graduate and are thrown into a high paced, highly technical environment, they don’t do well because they lack confidence in their new abilities,” said Hogg. “What we found is that if we give them time to grow with one-on-one mentoring with an experienced nurse, they acquire that confidence.”

The Airmen receive this one-on-one mentoring by being paired to a preceptor, who acts as a mentor providing further exposure to new skills and constant feedback.

“Each student has a preceptor, who is an experienced nurse, assigned to them,” said Clementine Duke, the Nurse Transition program course supervisor. “The preceptors are there to monitor their development and help them built on their nursing skills.”

The program came about when the Air Force began to have a shortage of nurses nationwide. As researchers studied the reason for this shortage, evidence showed new nurses stayed in the profession longer if they were not thrown into fire without a safety net.

“Our partnership with Tampa came about in 2012 with the need to provide a very robust experience to our nurses in this transition phase,” said Hogg. “We looked for facilities that had trauma capability, and a lot of different types of patients.
“The partnerships are critical for the Air Force medical services to be able to maintain their wartime readiness capability.”

After attending the NTP graduation and visiting the 6th Medical Group at MacDill, Hogg is returning to her office with some newfound ideas for the future of the medical career field.

“I took a little extra time to tour the Med. Group and see the great things they are doing,” said Hogg. “They are doing some innovative things that I think we’re going to be able to use across the Air Force medical services, so I’m taking some of those back with me.”