Nurse Residency Program Embeds Recent Graduates with Experienced Clinical Staff
Even the most subtle signs can help nurses treat breathing difficulties in children.
How deeply a child’s chest moves, the sounds of their breath and whether their face changes color can all determine the trajectory of care over a five-minute span as well as the subsequent 12 hours.
Transition from Nurse Residency to Full-Time Job
For Nurse Resident Jade Starry, pulling shifts in the Family Birth Center on days with as many as 10 deliveries has shown her what busy and productive nursing shifts can look like.
“It’s just learning every day, trying to do the team work and learn how to chart,” Starry said. “Everyone’s very helpful and it’s easy to get questions answered.”
Starry, Sheri Wadsworth and Raelea Dixon are the three Registered Nurses in the most recent cohort that began in September 2021. The new nurses have quickly found opportunities for growth through the eager help and training of staff within their designated departments.
“I really enjoy just being there for delivery and helping bring babies in the world, it’s really nice,” Starry said of her most recent rotation in the Family Birth Center. “I did a little bit of Med/Surg, too. That was really rewarding. Seeing the sick people go home, or if they’re here for an extended period, you get to know them when they’re here.”
Patient Care, Classroom Training
On this classroom day, the nurses spend an afternoon practicing on simulation mannequins and interacting with a series of video tutorials to better triage pediatric emergencies in infants and children—beginning with cold and flu symptoms and later delving into more serious respiratory conditions.
A different skill will be the focus of their studies during their next meeting, but the consistent camaraderie these sessions bring helps the cohort to more freely exchange ideas and experience about their individual postings.
“Getting together with these guys, talking about things we’ve been doing, it’s just therapy for us,” Wadsworth said.
Gritman officially launched the program in 2015 and continues to adapt and develop it with each cohort of nurses, most frequently graduates of Lewis-Clark State College and Walla Walla Community College.
Clinical Educator Hollie Mooney calls the residency courses a “bridge” for nurses between their time in school and their work on the floor of a hospital.
“This allows them to have the support and to bridge being a student nurse and learn by doing, with help, but without having to lean on professors,” she said. “It allows them to have the other professionals there and to lean on so they can become better nurses in the future.”
Longtime Nurse Residency Support
Each resident has more direct support for the first six months, then starts to work more independently as they become further embedded in their various roles over the course of 18 months.
The training environment has already helped the nurses build confidence, Wadsworth said, through repetition of routine procedures and the ability to assist more skilled nurses in more uncommon assignments they may not have experienced in nursing school.
“I like the residency program because of the additional education, like we’re getting today,” Wadsworth said. “We’re not getting thrown to the wolves, we have a lot of resources and that makes it worth doing this kind of program.”
As an educator, Mooney likes to think of the program as another way to “grow your own.”
“I think it helps with job satisfaction and helps with retention,” Mooney said. “It helps identify needs that they have and goals that they have. We can provide needs based on information and help them with their goals so maybe they have job satisfaction and stay with Gritman.”
What is a Registered Nurse
Pictured at top: (left to right) Jade Starry, Raelea Dixon and Sheri Wadsworth train on pediatric simulation mannequins as part of a bi-weekly classroom experience with the Gritman Nurse Residency Program. The Registered Nurses are part of a program that combines clinical rotations with classroom development with the aim of easing them into a full-time job with the hospital.