Return on Investment: Benefits and Challenges of a Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program

Rosemary Pine, MSN, RN, CDE; Kathryn Tart, EdD, RN, CNE


Nurs Econ. 2007;21(5):13-18, 39. 

In This Article

Introduction and Background

In response to high turnover rates among first-year nurses, many hospitals are initiating specialized orientation and training programs to ease transition among graduate nurses during their first year of employment. The question many hospital administrators ask is "Is there a favorable return on investment for the institution with a nurse residency program?" In this article, the successful approach used by The Methodist Hospital of Houston, Texas (TMH) and the University of Texas, Houston, Health Science Center is profiled. They joined forces in a retention venture with the Uni versity Health Consortium (UHC) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in 2004-2005.

The Methodist Hospital's Nurs ing Education Department, The Center for Professional Excellence, found that aiding in the development of baccalaureate nurse graduates' transition from the familiar educational environment to the professional workforce was a profound training challenge. The gap between new graduate employees' preparedness and their professional readiness is a documented stress and is perhaps one of the most influential variables that effect graduate nurse retention (Bowles & Candela, 2005). Retention rates among graduate nurses at TMH reached an all time low of 50% in 2003. There definitely was an opportunity to make a positive change in turnover rates. Imp le men tation of The Methodist Hos pital's UHC Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program was introduced as a viable option to meet the needs of the baccalaureate graduate nurse. It was selected to overcome the challenges of retaining graduate nurses in the acute care setting. Issues related to development of the baccalaureate graduate nurses are described.


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