Nurse Residency Program FAQs

nursing program faqs

It’s recommended that all new graduate nurses receive training in a formal nurse residency program to jumpstart their careers. Nurse residencies are still a relatively newer concept, and many people are still unfamiliar with how they work. We will be exploring some of the most common questions surrounding nurse residency programs.

What is a nurse residency program?

A nurse residency program is a curriculum and program purchased by your hospital by providing companies like Vizient, UHC, and more. Some hospitals also construct their own residency programs. These programs aim to support new graduate nurses as they transition from the academic setting and into the clinical setting by providing structure and streamlining their training in hopes of reducing turnover rates. Within a nurse residency program, there are usually a set number of classes, training, and projects that must be completed within the program.

How do nurse residency programs work?

The first few weeks after you start are typically filled with classes about topics such as standard policies and procedures, infection prevention, and reviewing hands-on skills such as inserting a Foley, changing central line dressings, etc. Afterward, you will begin your 1:1 preceptorship on the floor, which can be anywhere from 6-14 weeks. Each month, you will have specific education dates where you will meet with other nurse residents. Most residency programs also require you to complete a “capstone project” or an evidence-based project. At the end of the program, there is typically a graduation ceremony.

How long are nurse residency programs?

Typically, they are about one-year-long. Programs can vary anywhere from 3-12 months in length depending on your hospital and specific program.

Do nurse residency programs pay?

Yes, you are paid during the residency, so all education and preceptorship hours are compensated at the same work rate. 

Do I have to apply for a job after my nurse residency is over?

This can often be confusing to nursing students, but when you are hired into the nurse residency program, it means that you are hired as a nurse at their hospital. The residency program is meant to train you so that you can smoothly transition into working as a competent nurse on the floor. There are no further application or interview steps.

Is there an employment commitment upon completing residency?

Most hospitals require nurse residents to complete one to two years of employment upon completion of the residency program.

Do I have to participate in a nurse residency program?

The short answer is no. Nurse residency programs are now the gold standard. Most major hospitals offer a formal program to help support their new nurses. 

Personally, I would highly recommend starting at a hospital with a residency program. This provides the necessary training, guidance, and mentorship to help start your career on the right foot. When you are applying to new grad nursing positions, this is an important factor to keep in mind.

Miki Rai is a Registered Nurse based near San Francisco, California. She graduated from the UCLA School of Nursing in 2018 and has worked in the Pediatric ICU and in primary care. In her spare time, Miki is passionate about content creation on social media on various platforms, such as Youtube, Instagram, and TikTok.

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