LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14, 2011) — Transitioning from nursing student to nursing professional upon graduation can often be a daunting experience but graduates of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing who go on to become UK HealthCare employees participate in a unique support program that provides a strong foundation to further advance the beginning of their nursing careers.
The University Health Systems Consortium/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (UHC/AACN) Nurse Residency Program is a one-year educational and support program for new BSN graduates in a bedside role, providing regular contact with expert nurses, peers and facilitators as they transition from student to their new nurse professional role within the hospital setting.
"A lot happens in the professional growth of a nurse during the first year of practice," said Jeanne Bouvier, residency program coordinator. "The BSN Residency is a research-based effort to support the nurse through this stressful transition from student to bedside leader. It is still a work in progress, but the combination of an educational program and support activities is something we older nurses wish we could have had!"
The BSN Residency Program curriculum was developed by experts from academic medical centers and schools of nursing across the country. The residency features core content in three critical areas: leadership, patient outcomes and professional roles. All BSN graduates employed by UK HealthCare participate.
As a part of the BSN Residency Program at UK, nurse residents developed a poster project that was recently accepted for presentation at the national UHC/AACN BSN Residency Coordinators meeting in Las Vegas and won first place in the competition. The poster, "Striving for an Evidence-Based Approach to Transdermal Medication Patch Management" tracked inconsistencies in the way nurses applied, removed and documented use of transdermal drug patches and proposed a standardized method and location of documentation. Currently, the nurse residents are collaborating with pharmacists, information technology staff and nursing administrators to develop and implement evidence-based policies and procedures for transdermal patch use and electronic documentation and are in the final phases of implementing documentation changes in UK's electronic documentation system.
The team of UK HealthCare nurse residents who worked on this project were: Heather Blackwell and Jessica Job, fifth floor of UK Chandler Hospital, Jason Hicks and Corrie Poterjoy, Markey Cancer Center and Kathryn Hughes and Barb Renfro, third floor Obstetrics. They were supported by their residency facilitators Jeanne Bouvier and Anne Jacoby. College of Nursing faculty who provided additional support for this project were Suzanne Prevost, associate dean for practice and engagement and Darlene Welsh, assistant professor.
"The BSN Residency Program has been incredibly helpful in allowing me to transition from a novice nurse to an RN that is confident in the care she provides," said Heather Blackwell. "I can safely say that I would not be as comfortable in my role were it not for the support of the residency program coordinators and, perhaps even more importantly, for the support of my fellow new nursing grads. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to present at a national nursing conference in my first year as a nurse. I left the UHC conference feeling so empowered and proud of both my group members and my profession as a whole."
UK HealthCare and the UK College of Nursing have partnered to participate in this program since 2002. More than 20,000 nurses have completed the UHC/AACN program nationwide and the results have included positive outcomes in stress reduction, increased competence and leadership skills and higher retention rates. At UK, approximately 498 nurses have completed the program as of June 2010. Jeanne Bouvier (UK HealthCare) and Claudia Diebold (UK College of Nursing) co-coordinate the UK BSN Residency Program. UK was one of six original medical centers and Colleges of Nursing to participate in this innovative program.