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Are Nurse Residency Programs Right For You?

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Recently, employee turnover rates have been on the rise across industries. However, this increase in turnover has hit the already understaffed nursing sector especially hard as turnover costs are estimated between $22,420- $77,200 per nurse (2005 est.) And while the nursing shortage continues to drain talent through increased turnover, many leaders have successfully turned to nurse residency programs as a means of developing and retaining talent in new graduates.  Recent research suggests a correlation between improved nurse retention and nurse residency programs which have been credited with improving the performance by new graduates in the following areas:

  • Increased retention rates. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) indicated that nurses who were involved in residency programs after graduation had retention rates of 95.6% compared to those who were not and reported turnover rates of 30%.
  • Improved BKAT scores. Research has shown that the Basic Knowledge Assessment Test (BKAT) scores improved by 12% after completing a 1-year nurse residency program.
  • Enhanced critical thinking scores. Nurse residents demonstrated a 41% improvement in critical thinking skills and ability to identify the need for evidence and subsequent applications.

Additionally, nurse residence programs offer an opportunity to partner new graduates with mentors, preceptors, and clinical coaches which not only benefit the nurse residents, but have also been shown to increase job satisfaction and engagement within the more experienced positions as well. In turn, this can help further reduce turnover rates within the department amongst mentors, preceptors and clinical coaches.
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