RN Residency Program
Northeast Georgia Medical Center
RN Residency Program
Description of the Health System
Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit community health system on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 1 million people across the region through four hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has campuses in Gainesville, Braselton, Winder and Dahlonega – with a total of more than 700 beds and more than 1,100 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties.
The RN Residency is a structured, comprehensive 12-month program for licensed registered nurses who have less than one year of experience as an RN.
Scope of Program
The program supports the RN Resident’s transition into the clinical setting, as well as the incumbent LPN to RN transition, through didactic classroom learning, simulation, clinical orientation with a dedicated preceptor, and mentorship. The program complements the organization and unit-based orientation.
Consistent Operationalization of Program
All RN Residency Program elements are operationalized consistently throughout NGMC Gainesville, NGMC Braselton, and NGMC Barrow with the following exception:
- RN Residents are matched to a unit and shift based on the preference of the RN Residents, on the vacancy on the units, and on needs of the organization after completion of the program. Areas with limited positions and rotation opportunities, including NGMC Barrow and Women/Children Services at NGMC Gainesville and NGMC Braselton, are hired to a specific position.
RN Residents are hired into a clinical track which is a group of units with a similar population, clinical care requirements, and clinical skills. The incumbent LPN who is transitioning as a new graduate RN has a guaranteed position in the RN Residency Program. Several tracks have clinical rotations at both NGMC Braselton and NGMC Gainesville and the RN Resident may match to a permanent position at either hospital.
The NGMC Barrow RN Residents are hired into a position on a unit and do not rotate to NGMC Braselton or NGMC Gainesville.
Number of Residents Accepted Annually
The program has up to five annual cohorts and the number of residents per cohort is determined by nursing leadership using the vacancy rate and considering organizational goals. The Winter Cohort begins with the first general orientation each February, the Summer Cohorts have three start dates and begin with the general orientations of July and the first general orientation of August, and the Fall Cohort begins with the first general orientation of October. The potential number of residents accepted annually is 210.
Eligibility Criteria for Program Applicants
- Graduation from an accredited school of nursing (BSN preferred)
- 3.0 or higher overall GPA
- A current unencumbered Georgia license as an RN prior to the start of general orientation
- Valid Basic Life Support Certification through the American Heart Association
- Less than one year of nursing experience
- Acquire the knowledge and skills to deliver safe, quality care that meets (organization or professional society) standards of practice
- Minimize risk of harm to patients through both system initiatives and individual performance
- Function effectively within the nursing and inter-professional teams, fostering open communication, mutual respect, and shared decision-making to achieve quality care
- Recognize the patient (or designee) as the source of control and full partner in providing compassionate and coordinated care based on respect for the patient’s preferences, values, and needs
- Use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making
- Integrate best current evidence with clinical expertise and patient/family preferences and values for delivery of optimal health care
- Use data to monitor the outcomes of care processes and use improvement methods to design and test changes to continuously improve the quality and safety of health care systems
- Increase new graduate one-year retention rate
- Decrease the vacancy rate
- Provide for the effective transition of the new graduate RN to the professional practice environment
Mission, Vision, Core Values, and Strategic Pillars
Mission: Improving the health of our community in all we do.
Vision: We will be the preferred and indispensable healthcare resource throughout Northeast Georgia.
Core Values: NGHS prides itself on four core values, all of which help us achieve our mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. These values shape the daily interactions between our physicians, staff, volunteers, board members, patients, and their loved ones. The four core values are:
- Respectful Compassion: I impact life’s most sacred moments
- Deep Interdependence: I can’t do my job without you
- Responsible Stewardship: What I do today ensures tomorrow
- Passion for Excellence: I bring my best every day
Northeast Georgia Health System Strategic Pillars:
- Safety/Quality: Eliminate preventable harm to our patients
- People: We value a culture that fosters and develops high performing, engaged employees
- Service Excellence: Consistently exceed the quality and experience expectations of those we serve
- Delivery: Deliver the right care at the right time and place, eliminating any non-value activities
- Stewardship: Generate financial results to fund NGHS’s Mission and Strategic Plan
- Prior to each Cohort, Clinical Tracks are determined by Nursing Leadership and Human Resources using organizational vacancy rate, organizational goals, and cohort capacity.
- Positions are posted on the NGHS website. Online applications are open at least four months prior to the start date of the Cohort.
- The application process consists of an online application and submission of a cover letter, a resume, an unofficial transcript, and a clinical reference form. All documents are to be submitted prior to interviews.
- The RN Resident identifies his/her two preferred clinical tracks and interviews with those clinical track’s interview panel. The formal interview panels include Nurse Managers (including RN Residency Nurse Manager), Assistant Nurse Managers, Nurse Educators, and/or other designated representatives.
- The RN Resident’s position is conditional on fulfilling the eligibility criteria. RN Residents who do not have an unencumbered Georgia Nursing License prior to their start date will forfeit their position and are encouraged to apply for the next Cohort.
- RN Residents must sign a Nurse Training and Employee Agreement and Promissory Note.
- The Nurse Training and Employee Agreement is a 24-month agreement with the organization. If the RN Resident remains continuously employed by the organization in full-time status through and upon the 2-year anniversary of the effective date, the RN Resident will not be obligated to repay the outstanding amount. If the RN Resident is terminated (voluntarily or for cause), the RN Resident is obligated to repay the outstanding amount as indicated on the Nurse Training and Employment Agreement.
- RN Residents are hired into the RN Residency Program department and managed by the RN Residency Nurse Manager with the following exception:
- The Women’s/Children’s Clinical Track at both NGMC Gainesville and NGMC Braselton as well as the NGMC Barrow Medical Center RN Residents are hired into specific departments without clinical rotations. The RN Residency Program staff interact with these RN Residents consistently regardless of department assignment.
- These RN Residents do attend the RN Residency Program seminars in conjunction with their clinical rotation.
- Incumbent LPNs who have achieved their RN license will continue to work in the LPN role until their cohort start date.
RN Residency Program – The Year at a Glance
First Ten Weeks of Orientation
All RN Residents will begin the RN Residency Program on the scheduled Cohort start date. RN Residents attend an organizational orientation which includes general orientation, clinical orientation, nursing orientation, and Electronic Health Record (EHR) training. Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis for incumbent employees who have recently attended any of these sessions.
The RN Resident orients to a clinical track where he/she spends the first ten weeks of orientation. Trained preceptors are assigned as the RN Resident rotates through clinical track sites.
The RN Resident rotates through the nursing units within the clinical track during the first ten weeks of the program. The RN Resident experiences the patient population and care needs of each unit rotating through all appropriate shifts.
Incumbent LPNs transitioning to their new RN role who choose to remain in their current unit may do so and participate in modified clinical rotations as appropriate for their specialty. Those LPNs who choose to be matched to a different unit will be required to participate in the full clinical rotations.
The clinical rotation progress note serves as a guideline for the clinical orientation progression during this time. Preceptors and RN Residents review the clinical rotation progress note weekly at the beginning and end of each clinical rotation. It is the RN Resident’s responsibility to bring the document to each clinical rotation site. The RN Resident will submit the completed clinical rotation progress note which will become a part of the employee file.
At the end of the first ten-week period of orientation, the RN Resident is matched to a permanent nursing unit within his/her track based on the organization’s priorities, available positions, rank in the RN Residency Program, and RN Resident preference for unit and shift as possible.
The Matching Meeting uses the list of available positions in each clinical track and the preferences of the RN Residents in rank order to assign the RN Residents to permanent, full-time positions within their tracks by group consensus.
- Nurse managers and nurse directors will receive an email two weeks in advance of the Matching Meeting. The email will:
- Instruct the Nurse Managers to verify that all vacant full-time RN positions are posted through human resources, to complete any pending transfers within the department, and to verify that the unit position control is accurate. RN Residents are only eligible to fill full-time positions.
- Provide the date and time that full-time RN positions in the tracks will be suspended and not available for hire. No employment offers will be extended for the clinical tracks until after the Matching Meeting.
- RN Residency recruiter will reconcile open positions available for RN Residents with the nursing position control at a meeting with the Nurse Manager RN Residency, RN Residency Program coordinators, Director of Central Resources, and/or designees.
- Two business days prior to the scheduled Matching Meeting, all unfilled full-time RN positions in the clinical tracks, are suspended. No offers will be extended to internal or external candidates in the specific clinical tracks once positions are suspended.
- Internal postings that are within the 14-day internal department posting dates are not eligible for matching and continue to be processed.
- Positions that become vacant after positions have been suspended will not be considered for matching since they have not been posted for internal candidates on the nursing unit.
- Matching meeting attendees: VP & CNE, Facility CNOs, ACNOs, Director of Human Resources or representative, Nursing Directors (including Director of Nursing Excellence), Nurse Manager RN Residency (facilitator), and the RN Residency Coordinators.
- The matching meeting attendees match the RN Residents to a full-time position within their track by consensus.
- Using the list of open positions in each clinical track and the preferences of the RN Residents in rank order, RN Residents are assigned (matched) to permanent full-time positions within their tracks.
- After the matching meeting, a list of filled positions will be forwarded to human resources so the transfer/hiring process can be resumed.
- The names of the RN Residents who have matched to open positions will not be shared outside the matching meeting until the matching ceremony.
- Nurse managers will receive an email telling them which of their positions have been filled.
- All information shared in the matching meeting is confidential.
- Decisions are final.
The RN Residents gather as a cohort for the matching ceremony. Each RN Resident reveals which unit, shift, and facility to which he or she has been matched. The RN Resident is welcomed by nursing leadership and unit team members. The Matching Ceremony is a festive event with nursing leadership and unit team members welcoming the RN Residents with gifts, balloons, and welcome signs.
Second Ten Weeks of Orientation
After the RN Residents are matched to a permanent nursing unit, they begin a unit-based orientation outlined by the Nurse Manager and Nurse Educator for an additional ten weeks. The RN Resident is paired with a single, trained preceptor during this period. Preceptors and RN Residents complete evaluations on each other at specified intervals.
Unit education and training are unique to the clinical track:
- Essentials of Critical Care Orientation – Critical Care and Cardiology Clinical Track
- Emergency Nurses Orientation – Emergency Department Clinical Track
- Periop 101 – Operating Room Clinical Track
- Perinatal Orientation and Education Program – Women’s and Children’s Clinical Track
The program’s 20-week clinical orientation time is essential to the successful transition of the RN Resident into the clinical setting. Therefore, time off during this period is considered on an individual basis and needs special approval.
RN Residents work together in a group within their clinical track throughout the year-long program on an evidence-based project under the guidance of Nursing Leadership and a Certified Nurse Specialist (CNS)/Certified Practice Specialist (CPS). The goal is to expand the RN Resident’s knowledge to analyze and implement performance improvement activities and evidence-based practices.
- RN Residents will use best patient care practices and evidence from multiple sources, including nursing research
- RN Residents incorporate national and institutional policies, metrics, benchmarks, as well as the institution’s performance improvement process when participating in quality improvement efforts
The RN Residents present their evidence-based projects in a gallery walk at the graduation ceremony.
The graduation ceremony is a celebration of the RN Resident’s completion of the RN Residency Program. The graduation ceremony resembles a “pinning ceremony” where the RN Resident exchanges his/her RN Resident employee badge for a professional RN employee badge. The RN Resident’s nurse manager or designee “pin” him/her with a new professional RN employee badge. The RN Residents also receive a certificate for the completion of the RN Residency Program. After the graduation ceremony, the RN Residents present their evidence-based projects in a gallery walk during a reception. Following the graduation ceremony, the Nurse Manager of RN Residency emails human resources a list of the RN Residents who have successfully completed the program. Human resources transfer the graduated RN Residents into the professional registered nurse role.
Program Curriculum Outline
RN Residents will attend all mandatory program seminars. The program seminars are conducted the 2nd and 6th week of orientation followed by three quarterly seminars after matching. RN Residents will simultaneously work on completion of the RN Residency seminars as well as clinical orientation hours in their clinical track rotation sites.
The program didactic seminars and simulation are taught by subject matter experts (SME). The program curriculum incorporates a combination of Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) standards, professional scopes and standards of practice, and organizational competencies:
- Clinical Case Studies
- Communication, Prioritization, and Delegation
- Compassion Fatigue and Self-Care
- Crisis Intervention Training
- Cultural Competency
- Diabetes Management
- EKG Awareness and Analyzing Rhythms
- Error Prevention Training
- Evidence-Based Practice
- Informatics in Practice – Electronic Health Record
- Just Culture
- Lab Interpretation
- Medication Safety
- Medical Malpractice
- National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI)
- Nursing Leadership
- Patient and Family Satisfaction
- Patient Safety
- Peer Mentor
- Physician Round Table
- Professionalism in the Workplace
- Professional Nursing Practice
- Reflective Journaling
- Root Cause Analysis
- Scope of Practice
- Blood Administration and Transfusion Reaction
- Electrolyte Replacement
- End of Life and Post Mortem Care
- Putting it all together
- Social Media
- Start with Heart
- Working through Conflict
RN Residents who are not able to attend a scheduled seminar are required to complete online seminar make-up work within 14 days of the seminar date.
The program faculty includes a network of nursing leadership, program coordinators, educational services faculty, subject matter experts, mentors, and preceptors to support the RN Resident’s transition into the nursing profession.
NGHS offers each new RN, experienced or new graduate, the opportunity to learn from a nurse preceptor. The new nurse-preceptor relationship is critical to the successful retention of the new nurse.
Preceptors are individuals with demonstrated competence who serve as a teacher/coach, leader/influencer, facilitator, evaluator, socialization agent, protector, and role model.
Preceptors develop and validate the competencies of the RN Resident. Preceptors manage the clinical aspects and ensure that the RN Resident delivers safe quality care.
A current NGMC preceptor course is required and an annual preceptor update module will be completed. Preceptor qualifications include:
- Two years of recent RN direct care experience
- One year of NGHS employment
- In good standing
- Nurse Manager approval
RN Resident Preceptor Expectations:
- Fully orient RN Resident to the unit/department according to department process and RN Residency Program expectations
- Coordinate training schedule with RN Resident to ensure balanced and comprehensive learning and workload
- Provide clinical guidance during direct patient care
- Progressively transition patient care responsibility as appropriate
- Provide ongoing feedback to new RN on learning successes and needs
- Provide appropriate orientation experiences for the incumbent LPN transitioning to the RN role
The RN Resident is paired with a peer mentor for the first year. The peer mentor is a recent graduate of the RN Residency Program who can relate to the new RN and assist with the transition into the practice environment. Peer Mentors attend a Professional Mentor Class.
- Employee in good standing
- Successful completion of the RN Residency Program
- At least one-year employment at NGHS
- Demonstrated commitment to NGHS mission, vision, and core values
- RN Residency Nurse Manager and Nurse Manager approval
Upon completion of the RN Residency Program, the RN Resident becomes a Peer Mentor for a new RN Resident and is also paired with a Professional Mentor for his or her second year. Professional Mentors attend a Professional Mentor Class.
- One year of NGHS employment
- Direct supervisor approval
- Preceptor or faculty experience
- In good standing with no current or recent corrective actions
Nursing Professional Development Opportunities
Academic Progression Opportunities
NGHS offers scholarships and tuition reimbursement.
Clinical Ladder for Nursing
The Clinical Ladder for Nursing recognizes and promotes clinical excellence that supports quality outcomes and patient safety, acknowledges the contributions of nursing staff to the dimensions of professional nursing practice, and creates a stimulating practice environment. RN Residents are eligible to participate after the successful completion of the RN Residency Program.
NGHS offers professional certification reimbursement.
Professional Nursing Shared Governance
The purpose of the Professional Nursing Shared Governance (PNSG) structure is to provide a mechanism for the discipline of nursing to establish, uphold, and communicate its values and standards within the Northeast Georgia Medical Centers. The professional nursing staff and its professional nursing shared governance structure believe in interprofessional collaboration with other members of the health care team to achieve continuity of comprehensive patient care. An interdisciplinary, collaborative approach is employed to achieve the goals and objectives of the individual VOICE councils and NGMC’s hospitals.
NGHS offers annual continuing education opportunities and support for professional nursing conferences.
Participation in Professional Organizations
NGHS offers reimbursement for professional organizations.
Nursing Professional Development Fair (NPDF)
The RN Residency Program holds an annual NPDF that engages registered nurses, or anyone interested in the nursing profession, in professional growth through organizational committee involvement, professional certification, continued formal education, and affiliations with professional nursing organizations.
Internal information for the RN Residents includes Clinical Ladder for Nursing, Nursing Quality Teams, Scholarship & Tuition Reimbursement, Preceptor/Mentor Program, Professional Nursing Certifications, and Professional Nursing Shared Governance. External vendors that attend the NPDF include Nursing Schools and Professional Nursing Organizations.