Nurses who work in long-term care face a different set of challenges than those employed in a hospital setting. That’s why Miami Jewish Health created an RN Residency Program for newly-licensed nurses who are interested in skilled nursing.
Our new residency program is different because it focuses on caring for the elderly. Participants learn everything from critical thinking and behavior management to medication administration and documentation while under the watchful eye of a preceptor.
The program not only benefits new nurses by providing supervised, hands-on experience in long-term care. It also gives Miami Jewish Health a chance to hire caregivers who have already worked with the elderly.
“To the best of my knowledge, there are very few programs like we have in the long-term care setting. The program is unique,” said Jodi Pascal, RN, Director of Education and Staff Development for Miami Jewish Health, who helped develop the program. “The new nurses are closely supervised for 90 days.”
During the 90-day residency, participants’ compensation is equivalent to what a new nurse with no experience in the long-term care industry would be paid.
Miami Jewish Health launched the Registered Nurse Residency Program in September 2018. A second group of nurses joined the program in January 2019.
To date, the residency program has attracted nearly 60 applicants, drawn by the promise of personal mentoring.
“When the three months end they are functioning as independent nurses. Those hired into this program have demonstrated that they have the ability and desire to fit into our organizational culture,” Pascal noted.
Residency Program Helps New Nurses Transition to Caregivers
During the residency, participants spend every Monday in the classroom and the remaining four days providing patient care. Each week they assume more patient responsibility, allowing them to ease into their roles as caregivers.
Elements of the program focus on transitioning from basic to complex nursing care, enhancement of competence and confidence, expanded critical thinking and clinical reasoning, provision of safe patient care, and leadership skills.
The curriculum includes:
- Critical thinking/behavior management
- Overview of head-to-toe patient management
- Medication administration
- Lab/radiology studies and interpretations
- IV insertion techniques and practice
- Crucial communication and documentation
“We don’t just put them on a unit and say these are your patients,” Pascal said. “We have a dedicated Clinical Education Specialist and trained preceptors that work very closely with this group. It is a paced, dedicated learning system for them.”
Cynthia Banada is one of the Clinical Education Specialists who visits our resident nurses on the job every day to monitor their performance and provide real-time feedback.
“My goal is to make an impact on these new RNs. The elderly can be fragile and vulnerable. We want to make sure they have quality of life up to the end of life,” Banada said. “You have to have that love and compassion. Nursing is an art in caring.”
So far, the new program has been successful for both the RNs and Miami Jewish Health.
Nursing Program Offers Guidance, Stability to New Hires
For new hire Alieny Ferrer Sallent, the residency program and subsequent employment were a dream come true. Ferrer Sallent graduated from Miami Dade College in December 2017. She was eager to start working as a nurse, but wary of her lack of experience.
Her husband spotted a job posting for the RN Residency program online and she jumped at the change to apply. She was accepted and worked under the guidance of a preceptor for three months, learning many skills she had only studied in concept.
The residency program boosted her confidence, exposed her to a wide range of experiences and taught her how to work with doctors.
“When you are a new nurse, you have fears. You are naïve,” Ferrer Sallent said. “I think the theoretical is very good but the practical part is the most important part. It’s really hands on.”
Ferrer Sallent said she would definitely recommend the program and enjoys working in skilled rehabilitation.
“It is peaceful and quiet and you have the time to be with your patients. You know everyone and everyone knows you. The family and the patient know the nurse,” Ferrer Sallent said. “I am very happy.”
Added Pascal, “Our goal is to have these new nurses grow and develop as part of the Miami Jewish Health team. We want to take them from novice to expert. What has made me really happy and proud is that these new nurses, our clinical staff and nurse managers have really developed a bond. We have received a lot of positive feedback from nurses and CNAs who worked with this group.”
For more information about our RN Residency Program, call 305.751.8626, ext. 65699.