Emory Saint Joseph's nurse residency program first in Georgia to earn national accreditation

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Dec. 12, 2014

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Mary Beth Spence
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Teresa Foust is the Nurse Residency Program Coordinator at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.

The nurse residency program at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, based on the University HealthSystems Consortium curriculum, has been awarded a five-year accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the leading accrediting body for nurse education and nurse residency programs. This designation by the CCNE makes Emory Saint Joseph's the first program in the state and one of only 15 hospitals nationwide to achieve this honor.

"Our program at Emory Saint Joseph's provides a solid introduction to nursing, and is an extensive professional development program," says Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital Magnet Program Director Sarah Hall-Shalvoy, RN, MSN.

This is the second award of distinction the hospital has received this year for excellence in nursing. Previously, Emory Saint Joseph's earned its fifth consecutive Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, making Emory Saint Joseph's the first community hospital in the world to earn this recognition.

Emory Saint Joseph's nurse residency program, launched in 2009, is open to nurses who have received their bachelor's or master's degrees in nursing and are new to the nursing profession. The program provides graduates with additional learning, work experiences and support as they transition into their first professional roles, building upon what they have learned in school.

Throughout the course of the program, residents have extended orientation on their units, attend monthly classes led by Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Residency Program Coordinator Teresa Foust, and complete evidence based projects to improve the quality of patient care in hospital units.

During the classes, guest experts including physicians and nurses discuss topics of relevance such as ethics, palliative care, wound care and pressure ulcer prevention, nurse/physician communication and nurse/nursing assistant communication.

"The classes also provide an open forum and comfortable setting for residents to ask questions or discuss any topic happening within their unit, through 'Tales from the Bedside' discussions," says Foust. "This is a valuable learning experience for everyone in the class, and is also a great opportunity for residents to introduce topics they might not have thought of during nursing school."

Nursing residents at Emory Saint Joseph's work in acute care, critical care, perioperative services, the emergency room and other units, and have the opportunity to receive an extended orientation and education on their units. They are paired with a preceptor, a nurse clinician who serves as a mentor and helps them become familiar with their new roles at the hospital.

Since the program's inception, more than 135 nurses have completed Emory Saint Joseph's nurse residency program, with 41 current nurse residents who will complete the nurse residency program in 2015. Graduates of the program have advanced in their careers to become nurse preceptors supporting and educating new nurses, charge nurses, unit educators and unit directors.

To achieve accreditation, the nurse residency program was required to submit written documentation to the CCNE with a breakdown of each component of the program, meet certain processes and outcomes, complete an evaluation and a site visit. "Our program follows best practices to support our graduate nurses," says Foust, about the three cohorts each year that graduate approximately 30-40 nurses per year. This number is expected to increase in the coming years as we enroll more new graduate nurses into our program."