Advanced training in nursing

Advanced training in nursing

Nursing jobs are in high demand, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for nurses to further their education after they receive their degrees.

UF does not currently offer a postgraduate residency program in nursing, but residencies are available at some health care institutions.The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center offers a residency program for new baccalaureate-level nurses. The VA Residency Program was one of the first three programs in the country to receive national accreditation in 2010.

Sharon Bradley, D.N.P., assistant dean for student affairs in the College of Nursing, says the VA has shown its retention rate for new nurses went from 69 percent to more than 90 percent after the residency program began.

Retention of new nurses is a national problem that leads to increased cost of health care and compromised patient safety. However, nurses who participate in residency programs usually have higher job satisfaction, Bradley says.

“(Nursing graduates) want to be successful in their first clinical practice job,” Bradley says. “They benefit by the extra support during those first years (after graduating).”

Baccalaureate students have shown an increased interest in nursing residencies and often seek employment at facilities that offer graduate nurse residencies. Bradley hopes that Shands at UF will eventually offer a residency, however new graduate nurses at Shands receive an individualized and extended orientation to assist in their transition to practice.

Several of the college’s graduate programs, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, or D.N.P., and the Clinical Nurse Leader, or C.N.L., require the completion of a residency prior to graduation. These types of residencies are capstone experiences with immersion into advanced clinical practice. The C.N.L. student receives a master’s degree and is prepared to coordinate and evaluate care for complex groups of patients. The D.N.P. degree is a non-research clinical doctorate that prepares expert practitioners for a variety of specialized roles, such as family, adult or pediatric practice.

“The complex health care system of today demands a more educated nurse to deliver patient-centered, quality care to patients,” Bradley says. “UF nursing graduates are definitely marketable with an undergraduate or graduate education.”