Mercy Hospital NWA to start residency nursing program this summer

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 288 views 

Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas in Rogers is establishing a nursing residency program, starting this summer with 26 nurses, according to a news release.

The goal for the 12-month program is to ease the transition from being a new nursing graduate to working as a nurse. It will include orientation classes, continuing education and monthly meetings for nurses to discuss issues. A “comprehensive curriculum” will be “delivered in a variety of education styles, including presentations, lectures, guided hands-on training and patient simulations,” the release shows.

“Starting work as a nurse can be overwhelming to new graduates, with some new nurses becoming burned out even during the first year,” said Toni Walker, nursing educator for Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas.

Along with the education, nurses also will be placed on an assigned unit and receive one-on-one clinical experience with a preceptor. The amount of time the nurse will work with the preceptor will depend on the unit and the nurse’s learning needs.

Healthcare systems “must be innovative in their efforts to recruit and retain nurses,” said Charlotte Rankin, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer for the hospital. The new residency program will prepare new nursing graduates “for success and increase Mercy’s chances of keeping them long-term.”

While nursing schools are adequately teaching their students, the need for the residency program is more about social and cultural issues, nursing educator Karl Bengs said.

“Millennials especially want more than traditional education,” Walker said. “They want to make sure they feel adequately prepared. They want feedback. They want job satisfaction. They want to feel like they’re helping people from day one.”

Nurses in the program will be hired to work in a specific department but will have the opportunity to work in and watch other departments. “The overall goal is for our nurses to feel more prepared,” Bengs said. “This helps everyone, including our existing staff members and of course our patients.”