Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Welcomes 2013 Nurse Residents
For the third year in a row, Elmhurst Memorial Hospital has taken a group of new nurse graduates under its wing. The innovative Nurse Residency Program (NRP) is designed to assist new graduate nurses make the transition from nursing academics to the acute care nursing practice environment by combining clinical orientation with classroom, group and workshop sessions.
During a recent breakfast held at the Hospital, at which residents from the 2012 program presented their evidence-based project work to the incoming 2013 students, President and CEO Mary Lou Mastro expressed her excitement about the program and the difference it can make in the life of a new nurse. Mastro, who started her career as a nurse, describes the profession as “physically, mentally and spiritually draining but the most rewarding, exhilarating and incredible profession.” “It is a never-ending learning process and I am still proud to be a nurse after 35 years,” she added.
The Nurse Residency Program, which is a labor of love for the organization, was launched three years ago by Pamela Dunley, COO/CNO and Deb Steberg, MSN RN, Director of Professional Practice. “We wanted a way to help new nursing graduates have a smooth transition into their first nursing positions, and we also wanted to help with the development of our future nursing workforce, as the average age of our nurses continues to increase. Both established nurses and new nursing grads have a lot they can learn from each other,” says Steberg.
The concept for the residency program is based on supporting the graduate nurses as they develop competence in nursing practice by providing a safe, nurturing, learning environment throughout their first year of practice. The students complete four clinical rotations through oncology, surgical, medical and cardiovascular services and are supported by a preceptor during each rotation. Classroom work during the first four months of residency helps acclimate residents to their new roles. The year-long residency culminates with a presentation of an evidenced-based project.
Jackie Schwellenbach of Carol Stream and a graduate of the UIC College of Nursing recently completed her year of residency. “I was thrilled to be part of the program and the hands-on experience I received has helped me feel more secure in my role. Before working at Elmhurst Memorial, I didn’t realize nurses had so much to do every day and how many people are involved in the coordination of a patient’s care.” Jackie now works on a surgical unit at Elmhurst Memorial.
Chris Quinn, the only male nurse in the 2012 residency program, said this past year was a year of change that gave him real world experience. Quinn, an Elmhurst resident, is a graduate of the Elmhurst College of Nursing. “My advice to new students is to keep an open mind. I came into the program wanting to work in critical care but after I did an observation in the ER, I decided that’s where I wanted to be and here I am.”
The 2013 class includes 23 students from a variety of nursing schools who were selected from a pool of 350 applicants. Kaleigh Carroll of Aurora is a graduate of Purdue. “I was very overwhelmed the first week but am excited about the program and looking forward to gaining more confidence.” Her classmate Amanda Schroeder of Elgin and a Bradley graduate was honored to be selected for this very competitive program. “Elmhurst Memorial has a top of the line residency program and I am privileged to be a part of it.”
Information on the 2014 Nurse Residency Program will be posted on the Hospital website at www.emhc.org by mid April 2014.