• New residency program helps nurses launch successful careers

Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida kicked off a new nursing residency program in February. Diane Lassiter, Sara Warren, Rachael Ruffet and Carol DelaCruz are the first nurses to participate in the year-long pilot program.

Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Florida
Nursing at Mayo Clinic in Florida

"We are concerned about the pending nursing shortage, so we want to embrace recruitment and retention of this important profession," explains Debra Hernke, chief nursing officer. Studies show up to a 40 percent turnover in some institutions in the first year of nursing. "If someone leaves a position in the first year of nursing, they most likely will leave the profession altogether," she says.

The program is an outgrowth of Mayo Clinic's involvement in First Coast Nurse Leaders (FCNL), a consortium of chief nursing officers and nursing school deans in Northeast Florida. Flagler Hospital and River Garden Long Term Care also are participating in the program. FCNL received a grant from the Florida Center for Nursing to develop the curriculum.

Participating nurses are assigned an open position in a nursing unit, provided a thorough orientation with a preceptor, and also complete a three-credit course through the University of North Florida or Jacksonville University during the residency program. The curriculum is designed to provide the necessary tools and support to help each resident begin a long-term nursing career. Residents are assigned a nurse mentor to help them assimilate and succeed in the workplace.

"Nurses are essential to the future success of health care because of their proven impact on patient outcomes, mortality and quality of care," says Hernke. "After we evaluate the pilot, we hope to expand to other facilities in the region. Our hope is that we can provide an affordable program that provides the foundation for a life-long career in nursing."

For more information about the Department of Nursing at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, please visit our Web site.

Jennifer Lineburg is a recruitment coordinator at Mayo Clinic Florida.

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