January 11, 2008

VUMC nursing launches integrated residency program

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VUMC nursing launches integrated residency program

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is launching its Summer 2008 Nurse Residency program in the areas of women's health, adult critical care, adult acute care and pediatrics.

The program, modeled after the successful pediatric nurse residency program at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, is designed to help recent nursing graduates make the transition from nursing student to professional nurse through a full-time, one-year residency that includes didactic sessions, hands-on clinical training and support from Vanderbilt nursing staff and nurse educators.

According to Debianne Peterman, Ph.D., M.S.N., director of Nursing Education and Development for VUMC, the time was right for a program such as this.

“It standardizes the way we bring new nurses into Vanderbilt by providing one application for interviewing, one method for hiring and one method for orientation, matching and placing, and it provides a wonderful opportunity for people who want to learn more, ask questions and gain experience so that they can better do their jobs.”

The program takes the best of the pediatric nurse residency program and adds experience gained from the recently launched cardiac nurse residency program and from the Vanderbilt School of Nursing/Lipscomb University partnership to educate undergraduate nurses.

“We want all these nurse residents to stay in their specialty tracks for the entire year because the latest trade literature tells us that it takes 18 to 24 months for a new nurse to really get their feet on the ground,” said Peterman. “Our goal is to give these new employees more support and more clinical exposure to help them become effective and skilled nurses.”

For the first time, the hundreds of nurse residents will start on the same day and go through VUMC staff orientation together. They will all rotate within their track for the first six to nine weeks, getting exposure to all the different units and patients within women's health, adult critical care, adult acute care or pediatrics.

At the end of the rotation, the residents will undergo interviews and be matched to their unit for the remainder of the 12 months. Once on their unit, they will work with preceptors to learn the culture, patient demographics and skills necessary to succeed in that given unit.

Nurse educators are developing the unit specific curriculum. There are ample opportunities for all involved to provide feedback and guidance as the nurse resident moves through the year.

This program is the product of months of planning and meetings with charge nurses, nurse managers, nurse educators and administrative directors. Its execution has involved collaboration from many different parts of the Medical Center, including those in charge of shuttle bus transportation, Medical Center orientation and more.

“One of the greatest things about working at Vanderbilt is the collaboration and cooperation from everyone in the organization, and it has taken a great deal of effort from far-reaching ends of the campus to make this happen,” said Peterman.

The application deadline is Feb. 1. Team interviews, including tours of the campus, will take place in February and March and the hundreds of anticipated nurse residents will start on June 23. So far, there are applicants from 48 different schools from 15 states.

“This program is an important step in continuing to raise the bar of who we are going to hire as Vanderbilt nurses — something that is especially crucial as we prepare for increased nursing needs to support Vanderbilt's growing campus,” Peterman said.