Nurses in residence

Nurses in residence

Nurse residency program receives national accreditation

By Tracy Brown Wright

The VA-UF nursing residency began in 2007./Photo by Sarah Kiewel

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has formally accredited the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s postbaccalaureate nurse residency program — a part of a formalized VA-UF College of Nursing partnership program. This makes it one of only three formally accredited nurse residencies in the country and the first-ever nurse residency accredited at a VA facility.

The postbaccalaureate nurse residency is a yearlong program that pairs new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree graduates with preceptors and mentors. They experience extensive orientation and training throughout the year. The goal is to provide a structured transition experience from new graduate to professional nurse.

“Our college is a proud partner with the VA on several educational initiatives, and we are especially proud of the success of the nurse residency program in achieving national accreditation,” said Kathleen Ann Long, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the UF College of Nursing. “High turnover rates for new nurses are a national problem and not only result in increased hospital costs but also compromise patient safety and the quality of care. Postbaccalaureate nurse residency programs, such as the one at our VA hospital, address these problems effectively.”

As part of the national VA Nursing Academy, the VA-UF nursing partnership addresses expanding enrollment of nursing students, increasing faculty and enhancing nursing practice through initiatives such as the nurse residency.

The VA nurse residency program has improved the one-year retention of newly graduated nurses at the Malcom Randall VA from 69 percent in 2007 to an average of 91 percent.

“This residency allows us to orient nurses at a slower pace that facilitates application of assessment and communication as well as priority-setting and decision-making skills,” said Julia Tortorice, M.B.A, M.S.N., the VA residency program director.