Nurse residency promotes work-life balance from day 1

Sanford Health makes well-being a priority for new nurses with year-long program

Smiling nurse taking care of mature male patient sitting on wheelchair in hospital.

Starting any new job can be anxiety provoking as it is. But when your new job is to provide world-class health care to patients, those anxious thoughts can swirl even more.

However, the Nurse Residency Program at Sanford Health is designed to help first-year nurses feel comfortable and ready to tackle the challenges that come along with a career in nursing.

Career and relationship growth

Rachel Hewitt, a registered nurse in the critical care unit in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, went through the program last year. She said the experience helped her grow not only in her nursing practice, “but also grow my relationships with my co-workers.”

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Hewitt said the program takes a tailored, and layered, approach.

“The program is set up for all new graduate nurses, so really, the number of participants in the program is based on the number of new graduates at Sanford. The larger group is then sectioned out into smaller sections for a smaller, more intimate setting. That group is then broken down into smaller groups that pertain to your area of work such as CCU or ED, so that your co-workers can relate to your practice experiences,” she explained.

Providing a professional, supportive sounding board

Taylor Baneck is an intensive care unit RN in Fargo, North Dakota. She competed the year-long program in 2018, but also came back to serve as a facilitator, or a mentor, in 2021.

She said nursing can be a stressful job at times, but the program offers enrollees the opportunity for valuable advice in a safe and judgement-free setting from facilitators.

“My favorite part of Nurse Residency is allowing residents the space to air their frustrations and hear how their peers are working through similar experiences. As a facilitator I have the unique opportunity to watch these new graduate nurses grow throughout the year and find their areas of interest. The confidence you see them build is amazing,” said Baneck.

Automatic enrollment

Alex Glatt is an RN clinical educator and Nursing Residency Program coordinator for the Bismarck, North Dakota, region.

Glatt explained that other similar programs require residents to submit an application and go through an interview process. However, “what makes our program very unique is that all of our new graduate nurses with less than 12 months of experience are automatically enrolled into nurse residency.

“Our program is open to any new graduate nurses who start on an inpatient unit within Sanford. We also make classroom visits to various colleges to raise awareness of nurse residency and the benefits of the program.”

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Posted In Bismarck, Fargo, Nursing and Nursing Support, People & Culture, Sioux Falls, Workplace Health