Nevada State College nurse residency program celebrates second year of success at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center

By Mandi Enger

Marking the end of the program’s second year, 28 nurses graduated from the Nevada State College (NSC) and Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center (SHMC) nurse residency program on Monday, Dec. 10. Brought to the hospital in late 2010, the collaborative program promotes retention as well as ongoing education for first-year nurses.

“We’re proud to say that the retention rate of the 2012 class is over 90%,” said NSC Assistant Dean of Nursing, Ruby Wertz. “On a national level, first-year nurses who do not participate in residency programs have a retention rate closer to 75%.”

All graduates of the year-long program are currently employed throughout the hospital in areas such as med/surg and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The 25 nurses from the 2011 program cohort have also continued working at the hospital and will be moving into their third year of employment.

“If nurses work at the hospital bedside for their first year, it is likely they will stay for their entire career,” added Leslie Hunter-Johnson, the SHMC nurse resident coordinator and palliative care coordinator.

In addition to retention, the residency program encourages nurses to be leaders and change agents throughout their careers. During the program, the nurses participated in evidence-based group research projects on topics such as improving Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Survey (HCAHPS) scores, updating hospital policies and procedures on tube feeding, and the encouragement of kangaroo care. Topics were selected by the groups based on the needs of their individual units.  

Six groups presented their projects during the December celebration sharing details on their research, personal experiences, and next steps for the projects such as implementation strategies or follow up research that can be taken over by future cohorts.    

A new group of nurses was welcomed into the residency program in November and a second group will start later in December.  

The celebration concluded with each nurse being recognized by Minta Albietz, CNO at SHMC and Sherrilyn Coffman, dean of the college’s school of nursing. Each nurse received a certificate of completion as well as a pin.  

The curriculum utilized in the program is adapted from the UHC/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Nurse Residency Program. The NSC/SHMC nurse residency program is the first in the state to use this curriculum and the first to be initiated by a college or university, rather than a hospital.  

The program is open to Bachelor of Science in nursing graduates from any college. The recent cohort included seven NSC alumni as well as others from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Touro University, and Roseman University.  

For more information on the program, please email nursing@nsc.edu.  

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