Nurse Residency Programs are opportunities for recent Nurse Grads (RNs) to get a position in a hospital without requiring experience. Most hospitals require nurses to have experience to work in a unit. The Residency Programs assists with long and in depth learning and training.
Things to know:
Duration of residency programs' orientation depends solely on the unit. Some may last for 3 months and others may last for 6 months. Also, if a person needs more time on orientation, for the safety of the nurse and the patients, they are allowed to extend their orientation time. This may not be for every hospital, but from what I have heard, this is standard.
There are mandatory classes and assignments in certain programs. Most courses are based on the units in which you work. Say for instance, if you are working in any critical care unit, you will have to attend a course on cardiac rhythm interpretations. With the courses, some may be at the hospital or they may be online. The online courses are known as ECHO modules. These modules are simulation and lecture based.
In most programs, there is a 1-2 year contract. The written contract describes the amount of time you have to stay in your unit or hospital before you are able to transfer somewhere else. 1 year is the max you are able to stay in your oriented unit before you are able to transfer. The contract also describes the amount of money you will have to pay if the contract is broken. To understand the money portion, there is a certain amount that is deducted per pay period. So if a contract is worth $5000 and someone wants to leave the healthcare system or hospital as a whole after a year, they will have to pay $2500. And of course the money will not be due at the time of resignation, but you will be billed for it.
You are able to apply to these programs months before you graduate from nursing school. Most hospitals in Atlanta, GA have 2 or 3 residency cohorts a year. They are in Feb- Mar (Spring), July- Aug (Summer), and Nov- Dec (Winter). During the beginning of your last year of nursing school, it is ideal to research the residency programs and find contact information for each program you are looking into applying to. Contact the hospitals via email and ask for the dates for the opening of the applications. This will give you time to do research on the hospital, build your resume, and to be prepared for any potential interviews. My Experience: In August 2017, I began my residency program in an IMCU (Intermediate Care Unit). During the first week of orientation, we had basic orientation. The second week is where we were able to get on the floor and begin working under our preceptors. I was given a preceptor weeks before orientation began and informed that I would be with this person for quite some time. Might I say, I was nervous. Being cautious as ever, I looked up my preceptor and did not know what to expect from the experience. My first preceptor was very helpful and critiqued me on things I needed to know.
So throughout the weeks on orientation, I ended up with four preceptors. Let's just say, management thought the switch up would be helpful. By the time I got to my second preceptor, I was already oriented to care for four patients (which is the max on our unit). With the second preceptor, she taught me different ways of managing my time and allowed me to change the way that I care throughout the shift. I had the third and fourth preceptors when I started working on nights. At this point, I was basically working on my own. The preceptors were there for me to ask questions, clarify information, and teach me how to do certain procedures.
Overall, I can say that I enjoyed being in a Nurse Residency Program. I feel as if some people will benefit from the experience and others will dread it. If you are looking to get oriented on a floor for more than 2 weeks, do a nurse residency. The time spent working with experienced nurses allow you to grow better as a novice nurse.