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Five Guidelines for Building or Enhancing Your Nurse Residency Program

It is estimated that as many as 80% of healthcare organizations have some sort of program that helps new nurse graduates transition into practice, but they are not all created equal. Given the unrelenting pressures relating to the recruitment and retention of nurses and perhaps the even greater threat currently being faced as a result of the pandemic, it is critical to build the kind of nurse residency program that will help new and transitioning nurses to succeed and to help them build real confidence in their skills as they transition to practice. So, what are some guidelines about the tools that your program needs?

Five Guidelines for Assembling Your Nurse Residency Program

As you plan to create a new nurse residency program or look for ways to supplement your existing program, what are the most important considerations?

1. Include What Matters in Your Content

Even if your organization is not currently on a Magnet, Pathways, or PTAP journey, there are key elements that your nurse residency program should include—HealthStream’s Nurse Residency Pathway program aligns perfectly with the objectives of these programs.

Ensure that your program includes content that will teach and help you assess all domains of competency, especially the essentials: KSJA – Knowledge, Skills, Judgement, and Attitude.

2. Support Preceptors – Preceptor Development Pathways

Program content is an essential consideration, but what about the nurses that will serve as preceptors for new or transitioning nurses? HealthStream’s Preceptor Development Pathways has content that will facilitate preceptor development as well. Preceptors can access a comprehensive set of tools for preceptor assessment and development that ensures they are prepared to successfully guide new and transitioning nurses through their orientation experience and that critical first year or two of practice. In addition, it is the only Preceptor Program that is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Nursing Skills Competency Program (NSCP).

3. Provide Flexibility for Organizations with or without Existing Nurse Residency Programs

Use a program that is flexible enough that you could use it to build a brand-new program or enhance your organizations’ existing program and resources. It is not necessary to start from scratch. The time and resources that you have already invested in your own nurse residency program should not have to go to waste. HealthStream’s program is specifically designed with the flexibility to complement and work with your existing program.

4. Make the Program Customizable and Efficient

While it may be true that new graduates feel equally overwhelmed when faced with a perceived mismatch between what they have learned in nursing school and what they experience in actual practice, it is not true that all new nurses are similarly or equally prepared. HealthStream’s Nurse Residency Pathway provides a comprehensive assessment that measures competency via the JaneTM Competency System —an assessment tool that uses artificial intelligence to create a unique, customized learning plan for each nurse. Unlike traditional quantitative measures that fail to give insight into a student’s critical thinking, Jane gives insight into both knowledge and critical thinking. Jane’s assessment becomes the foundation for a plan that is customized to the student and provides a detailed plan for professional development.

5. Focus on Dashboards and Reporting

When an organization makes the commitment to a nurse residency program, it is important to ensure that the program is providing the kinds of outcomes that makes the investment worthwhile. In addition to providing information on the efficacy of the program, the program can provide record keeping for diplomas and certifications as well as organization-wide reporting that can aggregate competency data for higher level reporting.

Since culture plays a significant role in the success of any Nurse Residency program, our resources are molded around your organization’s DNA, boosting your reputation as an employer of choice.

Learn more about how our proven Nurse Residency tools can help you sustainably reduce nursing turnover.

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