(Photos courtesy of CentraState Medical Center)
"My mom worked here for 30 years," Russell said of her mother, Rose Russell, who was a nurse on the critical care and PACU units.
Being part of the first group to take part in the CentraStateís New Graduate RN Residency Program in 2012 made Russell even more satisfied.
"They had an oncology position open, which is exactly what I wanted," said Russell, who earned her BSN degree at Caldwell (N.J.) College. "I felt comfortable and at home here. A residency program makes it easier to transition into 'the real world.í"
CentraStateís three-month program followed the general hospital orientation and focused on clinical skills attainment, knowledge and employee engagement. A group of 15 new graduate RNs from associate and bachelorís degree programs were assigned to several units, including ED, critical care, labor and delivery and med/surg.
Educators and staff nurses conducted classes on various days during the three-month period from 8 a.m. to noon. Breakfast and lunch were provided to allow residents the opportunity to socialize.
The opening lecture of the program discussed the nursing theoretical framework at CentraState, which is Caring Science by Jean Watson, RN, PhD, AHN-BC, FAAN. Each additional class included an opportunity for residents to share stories and experiences with each other.
"It was reassuring to know that everyone was there to help you," said Danielle Leoni, RN, BSN, a resident and nursing grad from Temple University in Philadelphia who worked on the 4N med/surg unit. "It allowed me to build confidence and made the transition from school to work easier."
Class content focused on skills, competencies and professional nursing issues.
Topics included self care for the caregiver, setting priorities, leadership and delegation.
After class, residents reported back to their clinical units, where they worked with preceptors. "The residents learned critical thinking by observing senior nurses prioritize patient care," said Lori Impastato, RN, preceptor and ED assistant nurse manager.
"It relieved a lot of my anxiety because we were told what to expect, especially from our preceptors," Russell said. "It was a good source of communication in general, and the entire experience was very welcoming."
On the programís final day, residents presented a clinical situation in which their preceptor impressed them or told a story of a patient encounter. Each resident received a certificate of completion, a long-stemmed rose and a small gift. The medical centerís chaplain blessed the residentsí hands and offered a prayer for nurses.
No binders containing lecture handouts were given to residents. Instead, program leaders gave residents a single "Go-Green Page" at each class for notes, and lectures were posted to the medical centerís intranet, called CentraNet, for browsing or downloading by residents.
Evaluations from residents will be used to improve the program, including working on equipment skills earlier in the program so the skills can be put to immediate use and avoiding repetitive material and class conflicts.
"CentraState is renowned for so many things," said Dolores Napolitano, RN, MS, nurse recruiter. "Having a new graduate RN residency program is one more accomplishment. We plan to continue to offer this excellent program for new graduate registered nurses."
Angela Mills, RN, and Diana Chiaro, RN, are nurse educators in the professional development department at CentraState Medical Center.
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