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The Memorial Nurse Residency Program

A Bridge Between Academia and the Real World

That’s how Anthony G. Gonzalez, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, Director – Nurse Residency Program describes the Program – as a bridge to the future.

“Just like any bridge, they are all designed differently,” explains Anthony. “Our bridge is based on three key elements – structure, synergy and engagement. These elements are built into our mission statement for the Program.”

The first element of structure sets written goals and clear expectations for nurse residents. The next piece, synergy, focuses on group cohesion, which gives the residents a support system where they can benefit from each other’s growth and experiences. The final element is engagement and a feeling of belonging to something special.

“Our culture has a strong passion for growth,” says Anthony. “One of the main characteristics I look for in any prospective candidate is that desire to grow. I look for somebody who is willing to make an investment in themselves. A proactive learner who wants new experiences and sees mistakes as learning opportunities.”

Anthony’s own experience is a product of this culture, which is hallmarked by clinicians who always want to do better and do more. “I started my own nursing career here, as an ICU nurse at Memorial Hospital West,” he says. “I left and then came back as a nurse educator for Memorial Hospital Pembroke. In 2018, I was offered this opportunity to become the systemwide director for our Nurse Residency Program.”

What makes the Memorial Nurse Residency Program truly unique is that Anthony and the other leaders understand that no two nurse graduates are alike. “We take the individual into consideration when supporting them through this transition,” he explains. “Each nurse creates a learner profile that outlines their clinical experiences as a student and asks what their learning preferences and expectations are. It gives us a better perspective in providing a personalized onboarding experience.”

Curriculum is also designed to reflect the nurses’ needs at different points of the Program. Early on, nurses learn about care coordination and delivery, which includes time management, professional communication, prioritizing and delegating.

Content on resiliency is shared at the six-month mark when nurses are the most challenged in their new career. Memorial makes the effort to reinvigorate and remotivate their nurse residents to continue on toward their goals. Then, at the tail end of the Program, nurses have an opportunity to focus on professional growth. They learn about Memorial’s clinical ladder and specialty certifications, as well as how to network and advance throughout the organization.

Anthony believes that nurse residents can provide a fresh perspective to the System, as well. “During our evidence-based projects, I like to tell them that it is an opportunity to ‘sell their passion.’ They can offer new and innovative ideas, but they need to have the evidence to back it up and be able to sell their thinking. I always use the mantra ‘sell your passion,’ which gives them the enthusiasm to make a significant impact.”

Most of all, Anthony wants nurses to choose the Nurse Residency Program that is right for them. “It’s important to make an informed decision and gather all the facts. You are going to be investing your time, energy and commitment to an organization that is going to commit to you in return. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to see which Program is going best meet your personal goals for success. If Memorial is the best fit, we will do everything we can to support you.”

Applications for the March 2021 Nurse Residency Program cohort open on November 19, 2020. Learn more about the requirements and application process now.


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A Special Message from Maggie Hansen, Chief Nursing Executive

When I was promoted to CNE in 2016, I came to the executive table with a vision for Memorial Healthcare System to be THE destination for nursing. We developed our first-ever systemwide Nursing Strategic Plan, the outcomes of which have been well noted and celebrated.

From there, we have expanded – and continue to expand – a nursing culture hallmarked by a dedication that has only grown stronger during the pandemic. The critical incident nurses who we brought in during the surge have remarked that all healthcare systems should function like Memorial. Having worked all over the country, they certainly have the perspective to make that validation.

Our nurses are respected as the most influential caregivers in the patient and family experience. We have removed barriers so that nursing professionals can practice at the top of their license. There is a high level of accountability for producing quality results, and we support that by providing Memorial nurses what they need. That includes education, coaching, supplies and encouragement!

We created our Nurse Residency Program to help attract new nurses to our high-performing team. Our Program adheres to the AACN-accredited Vizient Nurse Residency Model in which nurses work together to solve problems, share ideas and complete evidence-based projects. Many of these projects are implemented, with nurse residents making a direct contribution to the profession and our organization.

Memorial leadership is very appreciative of the Program, and our nurse residents can expect a collaborative relationship with the medical staff. However, what is most impressive about the Program is that we maintain a 97% first-year retention rate for new RNs. That is far above the national average of 82%.

It’s because we look for nurses with a BSN who align with our culture. We invest in nurses who want to become leaders in healing at the bedside—which is the most important role that a nurse can hold. At Memorial, nurses are genuinely able to experience the joy that our profession has to offer.

Our Program produces better nurses and better patient outcomes by providing a proper transition from academia to the nursing world. If you are a new graduate, I encourage you to continue reading to learn more about becoming a nurse resident at Memorial. Our next cohort starts in March 2021 and I would love to see you there!