Englewood Health has launched a new nurse residency program, a training initiative designed to ensure that nurses with a year or less of experience transition into practice with skill and confidence. Englewood Health’s acute care hospital is the first healthcare organization in Bergen County and the second in New Jersey to implement the Vizient/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Nurse Residency Program. Englewood’s initial group of nurse residents began their one-year training program in April. Additional groups of up to 10 newly hired nurses will enter the program every three months.
“At Englewood Health, we are dedicated to high-quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in nursing practice,” says Kathleen Kaminsky, MS, RN, NE-BC, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “We foster a culture of leadership throughout our patient care services, and especially in nursing, to provide outstanding patient safety and evidence-based care. We want our new nurses to succeed and excel in this environment.”
She added, “By supporting nurses in their transition from the academic setting to clinical care, we are fostering a highly qualified staff and better preparing our new nurses for clinical encounters, communicating with other medical professionals, as well as with patients and families, and encouraging them to become future leaders.”
More than 500 healthcare organization across the United States participate in the Vizient/AACN nurse residency program, which not only supports new nurses but also more experienced nurses who are transitioning into new roles. The program teaches skills such as effective decision making and clinical nursing leadership, incorporating research-based evidence into practice, and strengthens their professional commitment to nursing.
“Our ultimate goal is to provide safe, high-quality care by nurses who are skilled and highly competent,” says Maria Natal-Gopin, PhD, RN, MSN, CPHQ, director of the Center for Clinical Practice at Englewood Health. “The nurse residency program will help us support new nurses as they transition into their practice.”
The curriculum focuses on five major areas of development including critical thinking and clinical reasoning, patient safety and leadership, interprofessional leadership, evidence-based practice, and professional progression. Englewood is initially focusing its efforts on new graduate nurses who are hired throughout the hospital.
Nurse residents are required to participate in a 12-month program, which centers on monthly seminars led by subject matter experts. The curriculum provides case studies, simulation activities and lectures to accommodate a variety of learning styles. Residents attend the program as a group and then meet with a facilitator in smaller groups to debrief and reflect, allowing the new nurses to bond and form longer-term support networks.
As part of the program, each nurse has an individual development plan and concludes the residency with an evidence-based practice project to be used in a clinical setting. This project helps them apply concepts learned throughout the program and teaches the resident that they, personally, can contribute to the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care.
Guiding the nurse residency program is an advisory board that includes—in addition to Kaminsky and Natal-Gopin—James McGinty, MD, chief of surgery and surgical services; Felician University’s dean of the School of Nursing, Professor Christine Clouthier Mihal, EdD, RN; and Professor Patricia Munno, MSN, CPN, RN, from the Senior Student Clinical Immersion Program; Elizabeth Galetz, PhD, RN, associate professor at William Paterson University; as well as a number of Englewood Hospital nursing team members.
Like many community hospitals nationwide, Englewood traditionally provided newly graduated nurses with a mentor as they began their clinical careers. During the mentorship, medical/surgical care was emphasized at the expense of specialty units or ambulatory care. Over time, experience revealed that new nurses were so focused on learning the day-to-day tasks of the job that they did not fully benefit from the one-on-one mentoring experience.
With the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program the curriculum can be customized for each nurse resident group, enabling the team to be responsive to the needs of the individual. The nurse residents are given time away from their patient care responsibilities to focus on their professional development.
Englewood Health’s Center for Clinical Practice monitors the progress of both the group and the individual nurses with a survey component provided through the program. By measuring at baseline, three-, six- and 12-month intervals, the team is able to assess the new nurses’ skill development, comfort levels, and confidence, and work to improve any gaps.
“At Englewood Health, we are committed to investing in nursing across all levels, and especially for new graduates so that they can transition successfully and provide the best care” notes Kaminsky.