Two health systems have come together to launch a nurse residency program designed to increase retention.
On Tuesday, Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health announced that it has co-developed the program with Dignity Health Global Education (DHGE) — a workforce development platform created by Dignity Health, which is based in San Francisco. Dignity is owned by CommonSpirit.
The new nurse residency program supports new graduate nurses who are transitioning into practice throughout their first 12-21 months of employment, said Kurt Hayes, DHGE’s chief product officer, in a recent interview. Upon hire, new nurses are invited to DHGE’s online platform, which holds residency resources organized by topic, task and timeline.
The program is largely broken up into two distinct phases, Hayes explained. The first phase, referred to as “clinical integration,” is a full-time 16-24 week commitment (depending on specialty) in which the resident completes cohort-based, unit-specific courses.
The next phase is dubbed the “independence” stage. During this phase, residents dedicate one to four hours per week to the remainder of the residency program. They engage in a mentorship program, complete additional coursework and turn in an evidence-based project.
During both phases, residents can talk with their preceptor, nurse educators, mentors, peers and managers via DHGE’s platform. This makes it easier for residents to know their expectations and stay on track, Hayes pointed out.
“We’ve crafted our residency platform for health systems, which serves as a powerful catalyst to educate, nurture and seamlessly transition novice nurses into proficient practitioners,” he declared.
The new residency program, which is currently available across 21 states, allows health systems to implement a residency program across each of their sites and specialties. By starting from a common blueprint and utilizing a digital infrastructure, health systems can gain insights into program outcomes across their system, such as preceptor performance and resident retention and satisfaction rates, Hayes said.
This approach allows health systems to more efficiently apply local and system-level resources to support their newly graduated nurse population. This essentially shines a light into “what is often a black hole due to the non-digital and localized nature of most residency programs,” Hayes explained.
“Imagine our solution as a versatile and adaptable Lego set. We provide the instruction manual, box of Lego pieces and picture of a completed set. However, each system can decide how they want to sequence the Lego pieces, what colors or sizes they need, and what the final result looks like for their organization,” Hayes declared.
The program comes at a time when turnover rates for newly graduated nurses are at an all-time high, he pointed out.
Through the program, DHGE is aiming to increase newly graduated nurse retention by at least 20% at CommonSpirit, Hayes added.
The residency program also offers new opportunities for preceptors, residents and educators to advance to the next step in their careers. DHGE is looking to provide a form of credit for prior learning for activities completed throughout the program, Hayes said. For example, preceptors might be able to earn credit toward a Master’s degree by participating in the program’s training pathway and other preceptorship activities.
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