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New nurse residency collaborative to help those in first year transition into professional roles

Tuesday January 28, 2014
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Nurse-graduates at more than a dozen Maryland hospitals are learning how to strengthen bedside care, reduce work-related stress and develop leadership skills in a new statewide residency joint effort.

Maryland is the second state to create a nurse residency collaborative to help first-year nurses transition into professional roles. Hawaii was the first state to do so in 2011.

Launched in the summer with a rolling start at 15 hospitals, the partnership uses the University HealthSystem Consortium/American Association of Colleges of Nursing Nurse Residency Program, known for reducing turnover for first-year nurses and enhancing competency and leadership skills among other measurable results. The alliance went from concept to implementation in a year, said Sherry Perkins, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, COO and CNO of Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.

“It’s been really a great effort,” said Perkins, president of the Maryland Organization of Nurse Executives, the organization managing the collaborative.

The goals of the nurse residency include providing high-quality healthcare and improving patient satisfaction and the nursing work environment by offering a standardized curriculum to a number of hospitals, she said.

In the first three years, hospitals with the UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program achieved an aggregate turnover rate of 5.6 percent among first-year nurses compared with the national average of 27.1 percent.

Participating hospitals will share best practices, learning experiences and data, including turnover rates, to help new nurses feel satisfied and be successful, said Pegeen Townsend, vice president of government affairs for MedStar Health, which has hospitals in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore area.

For new grads, the first year frames many of their clinical and professional experiences. A nurse residency can increase professionalism, keep well-educated nurses at the bedside and help those who are interested in leadership advancement, she said.

“They are coming out of school, they are unsure. They are thrown into an ICU and they feel overwhelmed,” Townsend said.

“It’s a way to mentor them in a very structured way for an entire year. The facts have borne out if you have this kind of structured program, they tend to have a higher degree of success and stay in nursing and stay at that hospital.”

Townsend served as co-leader of a subgroup that led to the creation of the residency as part of the Maryland Action Coalition, which formed work groups to support and implement the Institute of Medicine’s eight recommendations for the future of nursing.

“We had this oomph behind it to say we are going to get this residency off the ground in the name of instituting the IOM report,” said Perkins, who was a co-leader of the subgroup with Townsend. “We were able to manage it through the MONE. That made it a statewide effort, too.”

A critical piece of the program is that “it really uses the expert nurses in their own organization as resident facilitators and mentors to work with the nurses over the the course of the year,” said Deb McElroy, RN, MPH, UHC senior director, nursing leadership.

The program includes monthly seminars to help nurses take their education to the next level.

Participating hospitals can integrate their policies and procedures to keep content relevant for the challenges faced by hospitals and nursing staff.

The goal is to increase the number of hospitals offering the residency in the next two years, Perkins said.

“We proudly support Maryland’s decision to implement a common experience and set of expectations for new graduate nurses so that they know what a professional nurse looks like,” McElroy said. “We are a national model and we have a standardized curriculum that is evidence-based and has been vetted. We have a standardized evaluation framework. And so I think [because of] some of those components, in addition to the ability to adapt this model in a very easy way to either a small practice environment or very large academic medical center, and our expertise with state collaborative as well as system implementation, [Maryland] decided to partner with us.”


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