The Swedish RN Residency Program

Raising funds to support and expand this important program was the goal of the inaugural Destination Swedish luncheon on Feb. 11. Miss the event? You may still donate to the RN Residency Program. If you are interested in applying for the program, email SwedishRNResidencyProgram@swedish.org for details.

Swedish Registered Nurse and patient

Swedish’s senior nursing leadership created Swedish's innovative Registered Nurse (RN) Residency Program in 2010, after doing extensive research on nationwide best practices for effectively transitioning academically trained RNs with bachelor's degrees to a commitment to careers in the stressful and demanding environments that nurses face in critical care settings.

The goal of the program is to address at Swedish the serious problems posed by a looming national shortage of experienced and skilled hospital critical care nurses. An important strategy for accomplishing this goal lies in reducing the troublingly high percentage of newly hired RNs who drop out of the profession during the first year or two after they are hired.

Swedish Medical Center - Registered Nurses Swedish's new Program is comparable to traditional hospital residency training programs for physicians. It has been carefully designed to promote a culture of peer support and shared learning between cohorts of new Swedish RNs who go through an intensive 12 to 16 week residency program together, during which nurse educators and preceptors provide them with intensive training in nursing and relevant medical specialty areas that includes current, well-developed, and continuously updated online medical education components, a series of real-time simulated medical scenarios and supportive mentoring and cohort meetings that continue throughout the residents’ first year at Swedish. This kind of experiential learning builds both competence and confidence, while minimizing the anxieties inherent in learning new skills during real-life situations where failure can directly affect actual patients.

The resulting combination of a strong support network and early acquisition of critical skills is already showing an increase in the willingness of nurses trained in the Program to remain in the profession and at Swedish, with the likelihood that many more of them will become the kind of committed, experienced and highly-skilled senior nurses that are essential to high quality, advanced medical care.

This RN Residency Program will soon begin its third year. It is currently able to train 120 newly-hired nurses in three cohorts per year, in specialties that include Med Surg, Adult Critical Care, Neonatal Intensive Care, Telemetry, Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, and Emergency Department care. The nursing leaders who have developed the Program and the nurse educators who teach in it are continually developing new approaches and methods that have the potential to make Swedish a national model for training recently graduated nurses.

Annual costs for the Program are an estimated $3 million. Helping to meet this need will give donors an opportunity to contribute directly to sustaining the high quality of nursing care that they and their families expect from Swedish.

Specifically, the inaugural Destination Swedish luncheon on Feb. 11, 2013 raised funds to meet the estimated $1 million cost of creating a dedicated, state-of-the-art Learning Center for the Program. This completely remodeled space, to be located at the Cherry Hill Campus, will include classroom space and a Nursing Simulation Lab.

The Lab will use lifelike, computer-controlled mannequins to conduct and record simulations of a range of medical scenarios that provide residents in the Program with critical care experiences that prepare them for the demanding and stressful realities they will encounter in their work at Swedish.