Author Archives: Susan Kosman

Nurse Residencies: Building a Better Future for Patients and Nurses

Oct 13, 2011, 12:00 PM, Posted by Susan Kosman

Susan Kosman, RN, BSN, MS, is Chief Nursing Officer for AETNA.


The ever-changing health care landscape presents challenges and opportunities to new nursing graduates, as well as those changing specialties or worksites, regardless of their clinical background. Implementing appropriate training will benefit nurses, the organizations that employ them, and most importantly, the patients and caregivers who depend on their skills and services.

An opportunity exists to transform nurses’ professional development and to improve health care quality and affordability through nurse residency programs. These programs need to go beyond basic orientation and provide a clinical preceptorship focused not just on delivering competent care, but also in how to develop and grow in the nursing profession. A survey of new nurses found many challenges - a lack of confidence; difficulty with work relationships; frustrations relating to the work environment; lack of time and guidance for developing organizational and priority-setting abilities; and overall high levels of stress. These factors likely contribute to the high turnover rate among new nurses, estimated at between 35 and 60 percent within the first year (“The Value of Nurse Education and Residency Programs," 2011).

The opportunity exists to improve nurses’ work experiences, to increase retention of new nurses, and to show financial return for organizations investing in nurses as resources. Residency evaluations show increases in leadership and communication skills and decreases in stress and turnover.

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