After chatting with a fourth year med student today at clinical, it occurred to me how vastly different the physician career-path is from our own. Fourth year medical students are undergoing the process of being matched to a residency in the specialty of their choosing. They apply to prospective hospitals and hope to be matched to their top choice, awaiting the chance to learn from their experienced superiors. Then, after gaining some experience, they apply for a fellowship or are recruited to a hospital.
Meanwhile, new graduate nurses face roadblock after roadblock to becoming an experienced nurse. As nursing students approach graduation, they frantically begin the job search, only to encounter "__ years experience required" on almost every job posting. If nursing school is not adequate preparation to be recruited to a nursing position, is our education failing us? How are we to become experienced professionals if hospitals are unwilling to let us grow to this capacity?
I believe the answer to this problem is nurse residency programs. Like medical residencies, these programs assume and even require that the applicant be a relatively-inexperienced new graduate. I feel that like medical residencies, nurse residencies should become a traditional and required portion of nursing training. I envision this to be far off in the future, but maybe someday every teaching hospital will have "nurse residents" and every nursing student will go through a residency as part of their training, not just the lucky few who are accepted to these programs today.