New MSN Nurse Residency Program with UMH and JHS



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In a major step to reduce nurse attrition and prepare our bedside nurse leaders. The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies is one of the first nursing programs in the state to implement the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Future of Nursing Recommendations for the establishment of a “Nurse Residency Program.” This program is designed to support nurses’ completion of a transition-to-practice program after they have completed an advanced practice degree or are transitioning into new clinical areas.

“Thanks to outstanding cooperation from our community partners at the University of Miami Hospital (UMH) and Jackson Health Systems (JHS), for the first time in the school’s history, we have created a pilot residency program that will be a tremendous win for our graduating BSN students, the school and both hospitals,” says Nilda (Nena) P. Peragallo Montano, DrPH, RN, FAAN.

The School currently has a one-year Acute Care/Adult Nurse Practitioner Program and a two-year part-time Acute Care/Adult Nurse Practitioner Program. Under the new residency program, UMH and JHS have created a three-year program working with selected BSN graduates who will be placed in a critical care environment as a RN at either facility while they are in the Master’s program.

“The goal is to support nurses from graduation all the way through a Critical Care/ICU program by simultaneously providing actual experience as they complete the Acute Care/Adult Nurse Practitioner Program,” says Dr. Todd Ambrosia, PhD, DNSc, MSN, FNP-BC, FACC, Associate Dean for the Master’s Program and Assistant Professor of Clinical.

Under the Acute Care/Adult Nurse Practitioner Residency Program students will spend almost all their time in the clinical setting with only one class their first semester and a reduced class load in years two and three. “When the students complete the residency program they will be fully experienced critical care nurses and eligible for national board certification as Acute Care/Adult Nurse Practitioners,” says Mary Wyckoff, PhD, ACNP, BC, FNP-BC, NNP, FAANP, CCNS, CCRN, JHS Residency Program Coordinator.

“What we found in the past was when we tried to put nurses straight through from BSN to Acute Care/Adult Advanced Practice, they were having a difficult time obtaining employment due to a lack of experience. This will help our community partners to have highly qualified advanced practice bedside nurses and our students to be a unique employee resource,” says Joanna Sikkema, MSN, ARNP, FAHA, UMH Residency Program Coordinator.

Sikkema and Wyckoff both agree, “this program will be a win-win for students, the school and both area hospitals by refilling an empty well, creating outstanding new nurses, new Acute Care/Adult NP jobs for our nurses and at the same time provide the hospitals with three years of highly trained and experienced nurses at the bedside,” says Wyckoff.

This semester 10-students have started the program and the plan is to increase the number each semester. Danielle Smith, an ARNP student, just started the Residency Program at UMH but after a few days, she is quite impressed with the program, “working in the Residency Program with a preceptor is an incredible learning opportunity that gives you more autonomy. I am already learning critical new skills and have noticed the patients were much more receptive. I may not have all the skills yet but can see the tremendous advantage of the Residency Program,” says Danielle Smith.

Ambrosia says it took an entire team effort to make this happen, “you need a Dean like Nena Peragallo Montano with an open mind, and you need nursing leaders at UMH and JHS like David Zambrana and Ric Cuming, who weren’t afraid to go outside the box to raise standards at the bedside.” The next phase under discussion is adding residency programs for SICU-Cardiothoracic, and ICU at JHS, along with incorporating UMH ICU’s and the VA’s ICU’s.

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