By Mandi Enger
Nevada State College in partnership with Sunrise Hospital successfully advanced the first cohort of 28 nurses through the newly launched nurse residency program in December of 2011. The yearlong program was established at the hospital in order to battle the 27.1% national turnover rate of new hire nurses. Upon completion of the program at the end of 2011, 25 program graduates remain employed at Sunrise Hospital an 89% retention rate for the first year of the program.
The program has proven to be a great way for the nurses that are just graduating to transition into full members of the Sunrise nursing team, said Minta Albietz, CNO at Sunrise Hospital. Our local schools do a great job of educating nurses and we are very proud to have them on staff here at Sunrise.
The Nevada State College School of Nursing began researching the development of college and hospital partnership-based residency retention programs after numerous BSN graduates voiced their difficulty in finding long-term jobs in Southern Nevada. While nurses are still in high-demand in Nevada as well as nationwide, hospitals have individual facility and unit experience ratios to meet (experienced vs. novice) which can often deter the hiring of recent graduates. In addition, the retention program was initiated to ease the transition of BSNs into the field as it is common for graduates to become overwhelmed and leave the profession in the first year of employment due to the differences between their personal career expectations and the reality of the nursing field. Nurse retention is exceedingly important to hospitals as orientation of a new nurse during their first year of employment can cost the hospital upwards of $85,000.
The UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program was brought to Southern Nevada in December of 2010 after the Nevada State College School of Nursing was awarded funding from a federal grant program. It is the first retention program in the state to utilize this specific curriculum and the first to be initiated by a college or university rather than by a hospital.
The NSC team saw a consistent need for such a program to assist both graduates as well as local hospitals so we began researching program options and possible funding, stated Ruby Wertz, RN and Assistant Dean of the College of Nursing. This program allows BSNs from Nevada State, as well as other institutions to have the support needed to advance from a novice to a more skilled and capable nurse in our community. The program is a venue for continued learning and knowledge growth. We’re excited to see how the second group of nurses develops during the next year.
The 29 nurses currently in the second cohort of the program at Sunrise Hospital meet together on a monthly basis during a two-part meeting. The meetings start with a presentation from an expert in the medical field discussing topics such as teamwork, resource management, cultural competency and professional development. During the second half of the meetings, the new graduates participate in small group discussions titled Tales from the Bedside. All nurses are encouraged to share their experiences, feelings, fears, issue as well as successes. All discussions are confidential and provide much needed support, reinforcement and community.
“Tales from the Bedside is a great opportunity to catch your breath and share how you’re doing and feeling as a new RN. As a first-year nurse, the moral support and advice my group has given me has been invaluable. It’s something I look forward to every month, stated program participant, Garrett Kakita, RN and NSC graduate.
Unique to the Nevada State College/Sunrise Hospital Residency Program, nurses apply for positions within their individually selected unit (neonatal intensive care, cardiology, trauma, etc.) based on availability and personal interest rather than rotating through each division. Additionally, nurses experience both day and nightshift during the program to gain an understanding of each.
Ruby Wertz, RN and Dr. Amy Chaffin of NSC will be presenting a poster at the ATI National Nurse Educator Summit this April to share their findings on the success of the program’s first year specific to the Tales from the Bedside segment. Nevada State College and Sunrise Hospital will continue to advance the second residency cohort through the program throughout this year while also working to secure funding to continue the program into a third year starting this coming December. C