Implementing a Nurse Residency Transition to Practice Program at a Veterans Hospital

Marcia Lysaght


Newly licensed registered nurses enter the workforce unprepared to transition to practice and are expected to perform competently in highly complex healthcare settings. Gaps between the student role and practice, result in newly licensed registered nurses feeling ill prepared to transition to practice, leading to high turnover rates. Transition to practice programs assist the newly licensed registered nurse to adapt to the practice setting and develop competence and confidence. Evidence supports the benefits of these program, but there are significant variations in length and pedagogy. A Post Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program one year in length, modeled after the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education entry-to-practice nurse residency program, implemented at a large, complex, integrated federal healthcare system.

Online surveys to current and former participants of a nurse residency program from 2015 -2017, to assess competence and confidence level, job satisfaction, retention, and assessment of program components and effectiveness. Findings from participants of a 1-year post-baccalaureate nurse residency program revealed significant improvement in competence and confidence scores, increased job satisfaction, and 100 percent remained employed at the medical center one year after program completion. Nurse residency programs have shown to be effective in newly licensed registered nurses transitioning to practice, and positively impacts, job satisfaction, competence, confidence in practice, and retention.