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Building retention with your Nurse Residency program

April 28, 2022
April 28, 2022

This blog post is taken from a recent webinar moderated by HealthStream’s Jill Terry and featured Shanti Gangahdharan, Associate Vice President, Product Management and Lindsay McAlister, Solutions Executive, Clinical Staff Development. The webinar focused on the complex needs of a successful nurse residency program and best practices in supporting that program through assessment, development and validation. 

Gangahdharan began laying the foundation by pointing out the importance of a strong nurse residency program, citing statistics that healthcare leaders believe just 10% of new graduate nurses are actually prepared for practice and that 33% of those newly-licensed nurses will leave their jobs within just two years. These two statistics alone can make the case for building a strategy to address education and retention and when combined with the staggering costs associated with nurse turnover, it is easy to see why a nurse residency program could be an attractive solution.

Building your Residency Program

McAlister began by describing HealthStream’s Nurse Residency Program as a comprehensive solution that includes a combination of different course libraries, resources and a support team that comes together to create a comprehensive solution.  McAlister went on to point out three unique features of the program.

  • The program is highly customizable. HealthStream’s success and management teams work with organizations to create their own programs or build on an existing one by focusing on specialty areas and topics that are important to you and the organization.
  • The program is flexible. It can include the standard curriculum map or organizations may choose to work with HealthStream to use HealthStream content and also use resources that may have already been created by the organization to build the nurse residency program that works best for them. Some of the content is self-paced while other content is meant to be incorporated into group activities and discussion.
  • The program is award winning. HealthStream’s Nurse Residency Program has won multiple Brandon Hall Awards and includes the only preceptor program to be recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Building a 12-Month Program

While the length of the program is also customizable, 12-months is the typical duration. In the case of 12-month programs, McAlister recommends two distinct phases.

  • Phase 1: This phase (typically 3 months in duration) is essentially clinical immersion. “We focus on the resident gaining clinical knowledge and then reinforcing that knowledge through the preceptor on that unit,” said McAlister. McAlister went on to point out that this will be particularly important for the newest nurses who have been through nursing school during unprecedented conditions – a pandemic – resulting in even less time for clinical education and new nurses that may feel particularly unprepared for their new roles.
  • Phase 2: During the final nine months as nurses are practicing independently or transitioning to independence, HealthStream recommends the use of seminars. During this phase, organizations will work with their success managers to make decisions about the best topics to help build resident’s confidence. Seminars can include recommended reading, class activities, and opportunities to improve critical thinking and topical suggestions for evidence-based research papers.

Your Nurse Resident Program and Assessment

Assessment is a critical part of any educational effort and a nurse residency program is no exception. The program includes four assessments. There is a nurse confidence survey, a behavioral assessment referred to as CARES, and the Jane® Knowledge and Critical Thinking Assessments. “Jane® is a patented, award-winning technology that uses artificial intelligence to measure knowledge and identify gaps in knowledge and critical thinking and then builds user-specific competency plans.” said McAlister.

In addition to the assessments, there is comprehensive reporting that will help leaders know anything from basic information about the number of participants in their program to more specific comparisons such as those that will help leaders understand how various cohorts compare to national benchmarks and which schools are providing the strongest residents as well as the identification of specific gaps in knowledge.