Nursing Times, They Are A-Changing; Nurse Residency Programs are the Answer

Five healthcare professionals smiling

In 1992, Jane Englebright joined HCA Healthcare as a 34-year-old critical care nurse. Twenty-four years later, she is now the organization’s chief nursing executive, leading approximately 79,000 affiliated nurses in HCA Healthcare hospitals around the country. A compassionate clinician, a devoted mentor and educator, and a national nursing leader, this ‘nurse’s nurse’ has seen the profession evolve over the years, and believes still “nursing is changing right before our eyes.”

“Older nurses, like me, are retiring at larger, faster rates now,” Dr. Englebright explains. “HCA Healthcare nursing has more Millennials than Baby Boomers for the first time. New nursing graduates can’t find jobs. Many hospitals are holding out, trying to recruit those experienced nurses that are just not there. This is part of the reality we’re coming to grips with right now.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The nurses who are with us have incredible talent, and provide exceptional care for our patients every day. The question is, how do we complement their skill and better prepare for the future in bedside care? For HCA Healthcare’s nursing leader, the answer was simple: “ramp up our nurse residency programs for new graduates.”

With that, HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division is set to launch its inaugural Nurse Residency program for the 2017 winter cohort, beginning February 13. The division, which touches five geographic regions – Bowling Green, Ky., Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn., Northwest Georgia and Northeast Atlanta – will hire and assimilate newly graduated RNs into nursing units throughout its 22-hospital system.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to grow our network of nurses in many different locations, and offer them a chance to begin their career with confidence,” says Debianne Peterman, Ph.D., and TriStar Health’s vice president for clinical education and professional development. “This program allows us to have a pipeline of young, eager nurses consistently come into our organization and, once developed, follow their own career path throughout TriStar or HCA Healthcare.”

HCA Healthcare’s size – 169 hospitals and more than 26 million patient encounters – and a growing nurse residency program allows nurses to, according to Dr. Englebright, follow their passion no matter what it is – urgent care, call center, hospital – and never have to start all over.

Dr. Peterman, one of a core group of individuals who helped spearhead the TriStar Nurse Residency initiative, agrees: “In our program, no matter what size hospital you want to work in, whether it’s in a small, rural community or a metropolitan area like Nashville, you’re going to have the same opportunities,” she says.

Within the TriStar Nurse Residency program, nursing students who are preparing to graduate, recent nurse grads or nurses with less than or equal to six months experience can look forward to:

  • an interview and hiring process by your hospital and care area of choice;
  • orientation with online, classroom and simulation learning, as well as unit-specific training with a nurse preceptor (teacher);
  • monthly professional development sessions on topics, including, but not limited to:
    • culture of safety, critical conversations, crucial accountability and ethics;
    • joining a professional nursing organization;
    • pursuing nursing certification, and;
    • obtaining higher education.

“We’re hoping to attract the best and the brightest to our hospitals,” Dr. Peterman says, “and start them off strong in their career and on good footing. Our goal is to develop professional nurses and create a healthy staffing level at each of our hospitals and in every care area, ultimately, resulting in safe, quality patient care.

An additional benefit of a full complement of nurses is a boost in morale, Dr. Peterman, who also holds a master’s of science in nursing, says. “Our new residents will bring a new level of energy, excitement and remind everyone why they chose nursing in the first place. It’s one of those things you can’t really measure, but you’ll definitely feel.”

Nursing. It’s changing right before our eyes…and we’re changing and growing with it.

Three healthcare professionals standing near medical equipment
HCA Healthcare-TriStar Eastside Medical Center (Ga.) Nurse Residents

The TriStar Nurse Residency program application window is now open. Applications are being accepted now through September 23. Please visit here for more information on the nurse residency program and the application process. 

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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