Graduate Nurse Residency programs

Nurses New Nurse


I have applied to several new grad residency programs and am interested in what such a program looks like from the perspective of the new grad. I'm sure they each are different from facility to facility, but would like a little insight on what an average day, week, month or year looks like. (I searched in all the forums before I decided to ask and found little) I have several clinical advisors who have written letters of recommendation for me and a friend of the family who has connections at several hospitals. Sadly (or luckily?) it seems getting in really depends on who one knows.

I feel as though as residency program would be an optimal transition to a unit for me. Most of the ones in my state require one year commitment, with the actual residency program lasting 4-6 months.

Any insight at all would be helpful. Thank you.

iPink, BSN, RN

1,414 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum.

I "graduated" from my nursing residency in Jan. Yes, every residency program is different, but I'll share with you how mine operated.

We were given a curriculum outlining each day/month of the program. The first day is always orienting to the hospital and that was the day we met with the President & CEO of the hospital! The next few days consisted of skills labs with running through scenarios. Those scenarios including when to call RRT or a Code, using SBAR when communicating with doctors, case studies, etc. Similarly with what was done during nursing school, except you weren't graded so the stress level was much lower. The graduate coordinators always made the environment supportive. During classroom time, we were responsible for working on the online educational material mandated by the hospital for all nurses to complete within 6 months of employment, listening to presentations from heads of different auxiliary departments (PT/OT, pet therapy, volunteers, Pharmacy, Lab, HR, etc), discuss common mistakes new nurses make and meet other grads who have now been with the hospital for several years. They were also great about reserving days when we learned how to navigate and use the charting system all before working on our units.

After two weeks, we all went to our units to meet our preceptors and start working. We had scheduled days per month when we would meet for additional education whether it be for skills lab (e.g. IV insertion and blood draws practice)/classroom time with the grad coordinators. We took those opportunities to discuss any frustrations we were having with our preceptors/unit dynamics. Anything we said in the group was kept confidential. Our grad coordinators took the time to visit us on our different units to make sure we were doing well.

Three of us out of the bunch had a lot more classes to attend because were were working on critical care units which required us to take ECG training, ACLS, and Basic Critical Care courses to continue working on our units. Luckily all of us passed. There were good and bad to how my hospital ran the program. I personally wanted to spend 12 weeks of uninterrupted time better acclimating to my unit instead of being gone to take the required classes and then being told by my ANM I was good enough to come off orientation. I struggled, but I made it through my year and grateful for all that my rough unit has taught me.

As far as a 2 year commitment, yes they lock you in with that contract (depending on your unit manager). My NM didn't lock me in a 2 year commitment so I was free to go anytime. I am grateful because I couldn't stay on my unit for an additional year. One year was all I was willing to stay before requesting to be transferred to a more preferable unit and that transfer was granted.

Good luck.

Thanks, iPink! I don't know anyone in real life who has done one, so I was curious about what it looks like.

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