Nurse Residency Program

Supporting professional growth and advancement of newly graduated registered nurses

NurseFlyerSt. Mary’s Hospital in beautiful Grand Junction, Colorado, is committed to supporting your professional growth and advancement as a newly graduated registered nurse.  We are the only Level 2 Trauma Center between Denver, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah.  Our hospital’s Nurse Residency Program provides the tools and experiences you’ll need as you transition from your school studies into real-life nursing environments.

As a requirement for all newly graduated registered nurses employed at St. Mary’s Hospital, the ultimate goal of our program is to help you provide safe and effective patient care.  We focus on the development of critical thinking skills which will enable you to provide care with confidence, and that means better patient outcomes.

Our Nurse Residency Program was developed by nursing experts from major academic medical centers and schools of nursing from across the nation as part of the nationally recognized University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC). The curriculum is evidence-based and backed by published research. At St. Mary’s Hospital we understand the needs of a new graduate RN as you integrate into the nursing profession. 

What is a Nurse Residency Program?
It’s a paid, one-year program that provides recent RN graduates the opportunity for professional growth as they transition from a student into their first patient-care role as a registered nurse. 

What is the program based on?
The program is based on Patricia Benner’s, PhD, RN, novice-to-expert nursing model:

  • Novice (student nurse)
  • Advanced beginner (new to RN role)
  • Competent (end of program goal)
  • Proficient (after 2-5 years in specialty)
  • Expert (after 5+ years in specialty)

Who is the program designed for?

  • All new graduate BSN’s, associate RN’s, and MSN’s (no prior nursing degree)
  • LPN to RN

Nurse Residency Program requirements:

  • Employed at St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Graduate of an accredited associate RN, BSN, or MSN program within the previous six to twelve months.
  • RN licensure or a work permit pending licensure.
  • Commitment to the one-year residency program.
  • Develop and utilize mentor relationships to support professional development.
  • Provide and evaluate care incorporating evidence-based practice, research, and quality data.
  • Complete evaluations of the program and provide feedback.

Expert registered nurses facilitate the program with an emphasis on:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Leadership abilities
  • Team communication
  • Effective pain management
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Patient safety
  • Simulation lab experience including mock code and assessment skills
  • Professional career development

 When do sessions begin?

  • February, July, and October

After you have been hired onto a unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, you will receive a welcome letter notifying you when your 12-month residency will begin.

Chief Nursing Officer
Shelley Peterson, MS, RN, vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer, leads the nursing team at St. Mary’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center.  Peterson has nearly three decades of nursing and executive leadership experience from top care sites around the country.  She’s been the chief nursing officer at St. Mary’s since 2012. 

“At the heart of St. Mary’s excellence are some of the best and brightest nurses in our region.  We are seeing an increase in the number of new nurses joining our team after refining their skills through a series of learning and working experiences offered by our Nurse Residency Program,” explains Peterson.

Statistics have shown that hospitals without Nurse Residency Programs can see as high as a 35 to 50 percent turnover rate in the first year of practice (Williams et al., 2007; Goode & Williams, 2004…as cited in Goode et al., 2009). The first-year new graduate turnover rate at St. Mary’s Hospital is only 13.9 percent.  “We attribute our exceptional success rate to the extra layer of support we provide to our new RN graduates. We offer guidance every step of the way, providing the extra preparation needed to advance our recent  graduates from a novice to an expert clinical nursing professional,” says Peterson.