Nursing Residency Program Offered at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
07/13/2011

DALLAS — Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is the first hospital in the Dallas area to implement a nursing residency program to help new nurse graduates make the transition from student to practicing professional.

More than two dozen new nurse graduates make up this summer’s inaugural class, pictured with Chief Nursing Officer Cole Edmonson
More than two dozen new nurse graduates make up this summer’s inaugural class, pictured with Chief Nursing Officer Cole Edmonson.
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In a partnership with Versant, a nationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the nursing profession, Texas Health Dallas has created a comprehensive evidence-based program that goes beyond traditional nursing internships, which simply prepare nurses to be clinically ready to take care of patients.

The increased interest in implementation of nurse residency programs in complex acute care facilities represents a national trend that emerged from a landmark study by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study assessed the critical roles played by more than 3 million nurses, who make up the largest segment in the nation’s healthcare system.

“The study concluded that if new nurses are to succeed in this complex and evolving health care system, nursing education needs to be trans¬formed,” said Cole Edmonson, DNP, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services at Texas Health Dallas. “The inter-professional content, and innovative preceptoring model supports the goal of transforming education and is a great blessing to the new nurses transitioning into practice.”

More than two dozen new nurse graduates make up this summer’s inaugural class. A 2-week hospital orientation is the first part of the coursework. The remaining 18 weeks entail guided clinical, instructor led core curriculum, workshops and mentoring.

The Texas Health Dallas’ RN residency program includes “looping” experience, which assigns nurse residents to work in other departments in the hospital — including non-clinical areas. It’s designed to give the nurses a broad perspective on how the hospital functions.

“The goal of looping is to promote collaboration, affiliation, understanding, and improve communication within and between departments,” said Lisa Roberts, BSN, RN, CCRN, nurse manager of the surgical intensive care unit at Texas Health Dallas and co-chair of the program’s recruitment and marketing committee. “Through the residency program, we also offer mentoring sessions, which encourage our nurse residents to further their professional development, and debriefing sessions give nurses a chance to express their feelings about their experiences.”

Nurses who have been accepted into the 20-week residency program are supported professionally and emotionally by veteran nurses at Texas Health Dallas who act as preceptors and mentors. A web-based computer program monitors and tracks each nurse resident’s professional growth.

The Institute of Medicine study further emphasized that transition-to-practice residency programs, like the Texas Health Dallas program, can help new nurse graduates develop leadership and organization skills. The programs also improve nurse communications with physicians, patients and families to deliver safe, quality care, according to the study.

“As the first in Dallas to implement the Versant nurse residency program, we’re proud to provide this innovation to the new nurses in our community,” said Edmonson. “The long term advantages to nursing residencies and the facility are lower turnover rates among novice nurses, longer retention rates, improved competencies, lower training and education costs, and improved satisfaction of nurses transitioning to practice.”

Texas Health Dallas offers two residency classes per year — one in July and February. Qualified applicants must be registered-nurse graduates who have less than six months experience in a clinical setting.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 866-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Dallas.