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.