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21 Nurse residents graduates

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21 Nurse residents graduates

Twenty one nurse residents completed Norman Regional’s Nurse Residency program on Wednesday, July 11.

The 21 nurses made up the first cohort of Norman Regional’s Nurse Residency Program that started last August. The Nurse Residency Program is a one-year program that is designed for new registered nurses (RNs) that have graduated from nursing school. It is a Vizient/AACN™ program that is meant to help transition the nurses from school to practice.

The mission of the program is, “To facilitate and support the graduate nurse in acquisition and assimilation of knowledge, skills and research during the transition from novice to competent, confident nursing professional.” The vision of the program is, “To produce the next generation of nursing leaders empowered and focused on the delivery of safe patient care.”

Norman Regional is the first hospital system in Oklahoma to offer the Vizient/AACN™ Nurse Residency curriculum. The health system decided to join the Vizient/AACN™ Nurse Residency Program because it’s an opportunity to make a difference in new nursing careers, said Cassie Chaffin, BSN, RN-CCRN-K, nurse residency coordinator.

Vizient has a national retention rate of 95 percent for first-year nurses, compared to the national average of only 82 percent.

Residents of the program are hired by Norman Regional Health System as full-functioning nurses, but they meet with other residents once a month for a four-hour seminar with different topics that are meant to grow them as professional nurses. They also have an assigned project that’s due by the last meeting of the residency.

The newly-graduated residents presented their projects the morning of July 11 then received their certificates and pins for graduation.

Shannon Largent, MBA, BSN, RN-BC, director of the program, said the residents’ presentations showed that they had the opportunity to learn a lot this year and they’ll practice at a higher level because of it.

Danielle Winkle, BSNRN, is an Emergency Department nurse at Norman Regional and one of the residents. She moved here last July for her “dream job” as an emergency nurse.

“The Nurse Residency Program has given me all-around base knowledge of nursing. We’re always learning something new. It’s helped me tremendously,” Winkle said.

Rebekah Wheeler, a registered nurse in the Mother/Baby unit, said the program helped her get out of her comfort zone and network with more staff in other departments and feel more comfortable in her profession.

“The program definitely helps with transitioning,” Wheeler said. “Places that don’t have nurse residencies expect you to go straight from school to being a professional nurse, but having a residency program bridges the gap and allows you to continue learning in your professional setting.”

Paige Cole, a registered nurse in Women’s and Children’s at Norman Regional HealthPlex, agreed with Wheeler and said how the program made her a more confident nurse.

Norman Regional has another Nurse Residency cohort that began in March, and the next will begin in August.

“It’s an exciting time for Norman Regional to be able to showcase the new graduates of the Nurse Residency program, and we’re continuously looking at opportunities to improve the program as we go along,” Largent said.

Norman Regional is moving toward becoming an accredited Nurse Residency Program, which is a two-year process. One of the requirements is to have an academic partner. Norman Regional partnered with Kramer School of Nursing at Oklahoma City University.

For questions or interest in the Nurse Residency Program, contact Chaffin at 405-307-3160 or or Julia Burleson, BSN, RN, CHCR, professional healthcare recruiter, at 405-307-1554 or