Residency Programs for New Nurse Graduates

Doctors and nurses push patient on gurney.

Nurse residency programs transition nurses from school to practice and reduce nursing turnover.

The Issue:
Turnover of nursing personnel costs hospitals $10,000 to $88,000 per nurse depending on various factors. New nurses often leave a job because they feel their education did not prepare them for practice. Employers are countering these trends by offering a structured post-licensure nurse residency (NR) internship training program for up to a year. Nurses are paid during the NR and required to work for the employer for up to two years afterwards. Hospitals with residency programs report significant reductions in turnover (from 27% before the program to 7% after).

Key Findings

  • Some 36.9 percent of hospitals offered NRs (85% urban hospitals; 15% rural hospitals). Residencies were most common in nonprofit mid-sized hospitals located in the South.

  • Most residencies were optional (92.8%) and developed in-house (68%).

  • Other training programs were almost universally offered in leadership, quality and safety, and multidisciplinary team care.

Respondents cited financial costs as the greatest challenge to starting a residency program.

About the Study:
Participants included hospital and health system chief nursing officers and chief nursing executives, some 219 members of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, participated in the 2011 survey.