WI nurse residency program boosts retention

While doctors get to go through a residency program and gradually assume the mantle of full decision-making responsibility, most nurses move from student to caregiver practically overnight. In Wisconsin, however, a group of 40 hospitals have begun working to support new nurses during their first, critical years and boost their skills more quickly.

The Wisconsin Nurse Residency Program, which was developed in cooperation with Marquette University, pairs new nurses with veterans who coach them, mentor them and help them begin their professional development. It also offers them monthly meetings which give them a chance to vent.

To date, the residency program has boosted nurse retention to 90 percent for the first two years, as opposed to the 50 percent typical elsewhere in the country. And it's a real bargain, too. Running such a program for 10 new nurses costs about $52,000, while losing and replacing a single nurse typically costs $65,000.

To learn more about the program:
- read this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece

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