After an extensive evaluation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Akron Children’s nurse residency program was recently awarded a 3-year accreditation with distinction – the highest recognition given by ANCC’s credentialing program.
“This accreditation signifies the quality of our nurse residency program,” said Nancy Mosca, Ph.D., RN-BC, PNP-BC, PHCNS-BC, director, nursing professional practice. “As the first pediatric hospital in Ohio to receive this, it’s evidence that we have met national standards and affirms the dedicated work and commitment of our entire team.”
ANCC accreditation is a voluntary review process intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of practice transition programs. It provides a powerful, national benchmark for the hospital to continually self-assess and identify ways to strengthen the nurse residency program.
“We chose to apply for ANCC accredited status and, as such, agree to abide by national standards established by ANCC,” said Maggie Taylor, MSN, RN, nurse residency program coordinator. “This means we take continuous improvement seriously and are committed to quality practice transition education for our nurses.”
The nurse residency program was developed in 2015 as a means to help newly graduated nurses enhance their knowledge and skills while acclimating to their roles as practicing professionals.
“Organizations are using nurse residency programs as a recruitment tool for hiring new nurses,” said Nancy. “Nurses are being taught in school to look for a job in a supportive environment and that is what this program does – it provides an extra layer of support.”
“There is a movement for more hospitals to provide a program that supports transition to practice,” said Maggie. “With the added benefit of accreditation, our nurses can say they participated in an ANCC-accredited program that met rigorous evidence-based criteria and improved patient outcomes.”
The nurse residency program has graduated 11 cohorts over the past 2 years with 280 nurses participating in the program. As nurses are hired on, they are enrolled into a new cohort. They receive guidance, education, and support for 12 months from program facilitators and preceptors focusing on bedside leadership, critical thinking and reasoning, and patient safety.
For float nurse Rachel Michaels, the nurse residency program was a big selling point to joining the Akron Children’s team.
“It was one of the main reasons I wanted to come here,” she said. “I liked the idea that they are willing to invest in us and offer extra education so we learn new things.”
Allyson Johnston likes that her cohort is made up of all float nurses, mostly from the night shift.
“As floats we face many of the same issues and it’s nice they put us together because we can better relate to each other,” she said.
Because this is a first job for these nurses, education sessions focus on transitioning their lives outside of work as well. A recent session focused on practical tips like getting better sleep and eating well.
Maggie, who is looking forward to planning a reunion of her early cohorts, hopes to convince some of them to become preceptors in the future.
“There is so much opportunity here,” she said. “These nurses can advance their careers through CARE ladder participation, grad school, preceptor training, and certification. I’m excited to see what the future holds for them.”