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New Residency Program Aims to Attract and Retain Nurses

Nov 26, 2019 08:15AM ● By MED Magazine

One of the biggest challenges for modern healthcare organizations and attracting and retaining the professional staff they need to provide the highest quality care. A national shortage of nurses has made these critical caregivers especially challenging to recruit and retain. 

“We definitely have a tougher time finding nurses,” says Meghan Goldammer, RN, Senior VP, Nursing and Clinical Services at Sanford. “Nursing class sizes have stayed the same or shrunk because it is difficult to find professors. So graduation numbers not really meeting the need as the Baby Boomers age.”

Sanford is taking a proactive approach to the problem with a new Nurse Residency Program for all new nurses. The year-long program is for new RN graduates who have less than a year of experience and international RNs who are newly licensed in the US. At Sanford, about 300 new nurses qualify for the program. 

“The goal is to go above and beyond the normal on-boarding process to really help that new nurse transition from student nurse to professional nurse,” says Goldammer. 

Sanford noticed new nurses often hit a “lull” at about six months - right when their standard four to six month onboarding process comes to an end. The price tag for even one nurse who decides to rethink her job choice and leave can be 50 to 70 thousand dollars. Goldammer says having an additional six months of residency can help “get them over that hump” and stay engaged. 

Three cohorts a year of residency program participants attend monthly seminars on topics such as clinical reasoning and critical thinking, patient safety, interprofessional communication, evidence-based practices, and delivering patient- and family-centered care. The program also includes mentorship and small-group work. The first cohorts of nurses started this Fall in Sioux Falls, Fargo, Bemidji, and BIsmarck.

“We know that we need to invest in the success of our new nurses and this is a cutting edge way to do it,” says Goldammer. “The residency program really sets them up to not only be a good technical nurse, but to be professional and to be a leader in the organization.”

Sanford employs about 8,200 nurses. Nurses with less than a year of experience are automatically enrolled in the residency program.

WEB EXCLUSIVE:  FAQs on the new Nurse Residency Program 

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