Is Your Next Step a Nurse Residency?

Sydnee Logan
By Sydnee Logan  | 
Is Your Next Step a Nurse Residency?

Considering a nurse residency program as your “next step” after becoming a registered nurse? It’s a good idea—the programs, typically 12 months long, help new nurses transition from education into clinical practice. Many recent grads appreciate the familiar structure.

If you’re a soon-to-be RN considering a nurse residency, Career Lab Director Laura Arthur knows some things to look for, and some things to keep in mind.

Look for…

The length of the orientation and the length of the residency.

New graduate positions typically involve an orientation of 10 to 16 weeks to help a new hire acclimate to the hospital and unit. Residencies offer an additional focus on professional development and competency building.

The components of the residency.

The residency may include extended time with a preceptor, an assigned mentor, regular seminars and discussions, and/or an evidence-based practice project at the end of the first year. Some programs separate new nurses into peer groups based on the patient population and offer support tailored to the specialty.

The required work commitment.

At many organizations the residency is one year, but some programs may entail a contractual work commitment of at least two years, with a financial penalty for leaving the job early.

Time to meet with your manager and nurse educator.

In some programs one-on-one meetings are built in, but in some you will have to proactively schedule time yourself. “Ask as many questions as you can in the beginning,” says Laura. Get as much feedback and clarification as possible during the learning curve of being a new hire.

Keep in mind…

At some organizations, all new graduate RNs apply to a particular unit and are automatically entered into a residency upon hire. At other organizations, candidates apply specifically to a residency and indicate a few preferred units in the application.

Some residencies hire on a rolling basis with start dates every month, and some only start once or twice a year, with applications only accepted for a few days. Don’t miss the deadline for your first choice placement! “Bookmark your target employers’ careers/jobs websites and get your application in on time,” says Laura.

Vizient/AACN Accredited Nurse Residency Programs

Don’t miss the career fair January 22, 2019

Students graduating in May or August 2020 are eligible to attend. There will be 40 employers e on site to recruit for nurse externs, RNs, nurse practitioners, and nurse leaders. Organizations include Boston Children’s, Children’s National, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Providence Health & Services, Rush, Seattle Children’s, and Yale, among others.

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Sydnee Logan is the Social Media and Digital Content Coordinator for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She shares what’s going on with the world.

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