How many residency shifts did you have before you were on your own?


I just passed the NCLEX and was hired recently to be a nurse in an orthopedic surgical unit. The residency program is 12 weeks long, but I will only have 15 shifts on the floor with a preceptor before I am on my own. Is this a typical number of shifts for a residency program? Too many, too few? Thanks!


1 Article; 2,077 Posts

Specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education. Has 22 years experience.

Congratulations! If you find mid-point that you think you need more precepted shifts, share your concern with your manager. Do so before the very end, because staffing decisions are made so far in advance that it might be difficult to meet your need.

However, it may be enough to get you on your own. They won't start you with a full load right off the bat. (I expect they wouldn't, they really shouldn't.)

You'll still have your training wheels near-by, always ask when you have questions.

Your training has just begun.

roser13, ASN, RN

6,504 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

In 12 weeks, only 15 shifts? Just a tad over 1 shift per week. Why so few? Most med/surg units that I'm familiar with require a full-time orientation, working the same shifts as your preceptor.


4 Posts

Thank you for your response WKShadowRN, MSN. I will definitely let my manager know if I feel I need more precepted shifts. Thanks for the suggestion! Everyone has been really nice so far, and they did let me know they encourage asking for help when needed.

They try to have 4 patients to 1 nurse, but sometimes they have 5 or even 6 to 1. I've done a few shifts, and my preceptors told me the residency program used to be longer, so I am a little worried they're rushing us new hires. I though the 12 week residency was actually 12 weeks of having a preceptor, so that's why I thought I'd ask to see if that's the norm.


4 Posts

It's 12 weeks of residency classes. So sometimes it's three eight-hour classes with one 12-hour shift, and other times it's two eight-hour classes and two 12-hour shifts a week. Thanks for the response roser13, ASN!

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

The residency program at my hospital is a full year. However, the nurse residents are on their own after 2-3 months, with the charge nurse carefully selecting their patients and serving as a resource, as well as the floor nurses.

Their assignments are gradually revised to include a higher caseload and acuity. By the end of the year, it is expected that their level of functioning is such that no one would be able to identify them as residents without looking at their badges.

Don't worry. Being on your own doesn't mean that you're on your own. Never be afraid to ask questions and for help.Your preceptor can't possibly cover everything you'll need to know as a nurse.

Specializes in ICU.

I guess for me, residency and preceptorship were completely different things. I did not start preceptorship until residency was over.

FurBabyMom, MSN, RN

1 Article; 814 Posts

Has 8 years experience.

15ish shifts sounds about normal on a med/surg floor. I was cut loose after a little more than that, with a full patient load. I was not in a residency program. I survived, my patients did too, but I asked TONS of questions.

When I came to the OR? There's about a month of classroom time and then 5ish more months with preceptors (taking more responsibility each day ideally) before "team" / service assignments are solidified and then generally 3-6 more weeks of team orientation before being cut loose.