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Inside Arkansas Children's Versant RN Residency Program

May 11, 2019

Being a new nurse can be overwhelming, especially when your patients are children. Most new nursing graduates lack the experience and confidence of seasoned staff, and the pressure to perform independently in complex and intense pediatric patient care situations leads to high turnover rates.

That's why Arkansas Children's partnered with Versant RN Residency to offer a nursing residency program to Arkansas Children's new graduate Registered Nurses. The competitive 18-week education and training course is required for all new graduate hires and is specifically designed to transition new nurses from students to safe, competent professionals. 

Kelli Jo Smith, an RN-II in the Infant/Toddler Unit, gives a glimpse into her experience in the Versant New Graduate RN Residency Program at Arkansas Children’s.
 

Week One

Residents attend 6-8-hour classes twice a week for the first six weeks, as well as two 12-hour clinical shifts each week. “I like how we’re learning from three different levels of nurses. We learn things from each one, and they’ll all have different perspectives,” says Kelli.

Week Six

Spending time with different departments, called looping, helps nurses understand the patient’s continuum of care and develop relationships with other team members: “I really enjoyed looping. I got to go to the pharmacy one week, and now I’ve had to make several trips down to the pharmacy. Knowing where it is and who to talk to and what to ask for—that’s been really beneficial.”

Week 12

Debriefing sessions with senior nurses help residents develop health-coping strategies and work-life balance, and mentoring sessions continue throughout the first year of practice. “The mentoring and debriefing sessions have been really great for us,” says Kelli. “It gives us a time to unwind and see where everyone else is coming from.”

Week 18: Graduation Day

 Starting in Week 13, clinical time begins to increase and residents transition to their destination shift—all to prepare for graduation day. “It’s a ton of fun and they’re making improvements every day to make this program even better. It’s been a blast for us.”

Here’s an inside look at what it takes to be a nurse at Arkansas Children’s. Click here to view open nursing positions.

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