Nursing residency is a unique offering

Amy Nugent, Canton-Potsdam Hospital director of nursing education, and nurse resident Katie Palmer meet for their update. St. Lawrence Health System photo

POTSDAM — Six new-to-practice nurses at Canton-Potsdam Hospital are entering the second quarter of their Nurse Residency program now being offered through St. Lawrence Health System.

Registered Nurses Shawna Black, Danielle Charland, Ashley Dixon, Rachel Paige, Katie Palmer and Samantha Tremblay make up the first “class” of RNs to take part in the program provided by SLHS through the Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program.

“Larger academic hospitals have a home-grown nurse residency program, and the University of Iowa created a hybrid online program for smaller hospitals,” CPH Director of Nursing Education Amy Nugent said.

“We are the first hospital in the north country to offer the Nurse Residency program for new-to-practice nurses, and implemented it to close the gap between nursing school and work. The job of a nurse is complex and far reaching, and communication services as a critical piece that ensures a successful transition of care,” Ms. Nugent said. “Most school nursing courses do not include a communications class, so we’ve incorporated one into our Residency Program. Communication with patients and their families, peer nurses, staff, and providers all, understandably, require different approaches.”

During the year-long program, the CPH residents work closely with Ms. Nugent and Online Nurse Residency Program Manager Nicole Weathers, from the University of Iowa College of Nursing. The local participants also have virtual interaction with other new nurses involved in the program from around the country.

“The webinars have been extremely valuable to me, as is being able to hear from other new nurses from all over the country who are having the same concerns about being a new nurse,” Ms. Dixon said.“I feel it’s so important to take advantage of this program because it teaches us how to manage the stressors new nurses typically experience when starting their nursing career.”

The program is divided up into seven segments: month one focuses on foundations for transitioning from being a student to a professional, and applying critical thinking; month two is about communication and teamwork with providers and the health care team, and dealing with conflict management; month three focuses on managing patient care with time management, prioritization and delegation; months four and five are about safe, patient-centered care; month six focuses on bringing value to health care; and months seven through 12 are about incorporating evidence into practice.

“Nicole hosts a monthly webinar with all the residents from around the nation. Then once a month I meet with our nurses to follow up on Nicole’s topic, and see how they are performing in their roles,” Ms. Nugent said. “There is also an online discussion board for sharing ideas, which are discussed with the group.

“Each nurse is required to keep a journal and answer specific questions, like what are their goals for learning, what are they grateful for, and what could make their week better,” she continued. “This is a valuable resource that helps residents identify any challenges they are experiencing and determine how best to work through those situations.”

In order to be eligible to take part in the Nurse Residency Program, nurses must be employed through St. Lawrence Health System, and have graduated from nursing school within the past year. More information may be found online at https://www.stlawrencehealthsystem.org/nurse-residency.

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