Sanford Health adds nurse residency program

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Nov. 7, 2019 — Sanford Health is unveiling a nurse residency program that is set up to make people like Baylee Groos feel better about their choice of careers.

Groos is an enthusiastic new nurse at Sanford Health. Together, she and her fellow first-year colleagues are making their way through the first months of what they hope will be lifetime careers in health care.

This 2019 South Dakota State graduate anticipated fresh challenges. She understood — and is now reminded regularly — that good nursing goes beyond classroom training.

“I didn’t feel like I knew nothing, but I felt like it was so different than the textbooks,” Groos said. “I spent a lot of time memorizing those textbooks and I’ve yet to have a patient during my orientation experience where I thought, ‘Yep, this is exactly out of the textbook.’”

Ultimately, Groos is not alone in making adjustments. Her new colleagues have similar stories.

It is why Sanford Health is introducing a year-long residency program for nurses. It will help bridge the gap from life as a successful nursing student to life as a successful nurse.

Learn more: Sanford Nurse Residency Program

Aiding the transition

Meghan Goldammer, Sanford Health senior vice president of nursing and clinical services, said the goal is to hire nurses who are both passionate and skilled.

“We want them to come to work every day loving what they do,” she said. “In order to do that, we need to support them in their development in the workforce.”

The program helps build relationships among peers, Goldammer said. New nurses meet monthly with a small group of people who started working at Sanford Health around the same time. Each month, seminars cover a different topic, such as communication, quality and safety, self-care and ethical decision-making.

New registered nurses automatically enroll in the program. Organizers hope the material helps new nurses build resiliency.

“I’m very excited about it,” Groos said. “I grew up playing sports and being part of teams at school. … I’m in pediatrics and everyone is super team-oriented. But this gives me the opportunity to make connections outside of pediatrics with other new nurses who are having completely different experiences.”

Well-timed help

Nurses often hit a lull six months into the first year in the profession, Goldammer said. The orientation process is complete and they’re starting to take on their own patient loads. It is at that point some find that first year most difficult.

“This program really helps those nurses get over that hump,” Goldammer said. “It helps to strengthen their commitment to nursing as a professional career choice.”

Groos got a glimpse of the program by shadowing in the Sanford LEAD center while earning her professional enrichment credits prior to graduating. As a result, Groos was able to listen in on meetings while the residency program was in the formulation stages.

“I got to see the backbone of it and the logistics of it,” Groos said. “I got to see why they’re implementing it and what it is going to be like. I’m excited for the other new hires to be a part of this. Honestly, I think this program will be really great once they get it up and going.”

In the future, Sanford Health will make it a fully accredited program. It will be an ongoing part of every new nurse’s first year at Sanford.

“It’s another example of how Sanford Health is on the cutting edge of nursing health care and education,” Goldammer said. “We want people to join us and know that it’s a great place to work and develop your career as a nurse.”

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