How Do I Choose the Best Nurse Residency Program?

Geri Terzo
Geri Terzo
A good nurse residency program should provide both hands-on and classroom experience.
A good nurse residency program should provide both hands-on and classroom experience.

A nurse residency program should prepare you to adapt from being a student to practicing as a nursing professional. Ultimately, the residency should instill confidence in any new nursing professional and help him or her to remain competitive in an increasingly demanding field. Upon completing a program, you should feel confident and competent to begin practicing in your profession even if the daily job requirements continue to include new and unexpected scenarios. Much of the training that nurses receive is on the job, but expect to learn skills and techniques at a health care facility during a residency to equip you as much as possible.

The best nurse residency program should unfold over a period of several months.
The best nurse residency program should unfold over a period of several months.

The best nurse residency program should unfold over a period of several months at least. Some training programs extend for one year. Even if you are eager to begin formally working in your field, it is better to enter the workforce properly trained than to start immediately, become overwhelmed with the reality of the job, and miss your potential. Expect the training to provide you with instructors who use the same or similar techniques in response to certain emergencies so that uncertainties do not mound.

Also, look for a residency program that provides you with both clinical, or hands-on, experience in addition to some time in a formal classroom setting. Certain health care facilities outsource the residency program, and that's fine. The important thing is to receive consistent instruction on how to manage the demands of the job.

If possible, find out what the retention rate has been for former participants in a nurse residency program. You want to select a nurse residency program that will support your ability to remain in the industry. If professionals have a tendency to remain following a residency at the provider you are considering, this is a positive sign. Not all nurse residencies are accredited programs, but you might want to consider those that are moving in that direction.

It's possible that, if you are seeking a nurse residency program, you have recently graduated from college. In this case, be selective about the program you choose by reviewing the curriculum ahead of time. Ask questions of the instructors to make sure that the information you learn throughout a residency does not merely repeat the skills you have already mastered. Also, the best training should promote open communication where you are welcome to approach instructors and other nursing professionals with questions about things such as patient care, for instance.

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    • A good nurse residency program should provide both hands-on and classroom experience.
      A good nurse residency program should provide both hands-on and classroom experience.
    • The best nurse residency program should unfold over a period of several months.
      The best nurse residency program should unfold over a period of several months.