The Rutgers School of Nursing has received a $4.7 million grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust to create an innovative residency program that focuses on preparing its new bachelor’s degree graduates to work in out-of-hospital settings.
“This new program will create opportunities for our graduates to explore working out of the hospital as a new nurse, providing the type of support and mentorship required to be successful,” says William Holzemer, dean of the School of Nursing. “With the changes in the health care delivery, a great deal of care is occurring out of the hospital and the need for qualified, competent and caring nurses for these settings is growing.”The Rutgers initiative – which places nurses for two semesters in an out-of-hospital setting – is believed to be the first program of its kind in the country. The Helene Fuld Health Trust is a nonprofit foundation that focuses on health, welfare and education of student nurses.
“Typically, academic nursing education has not assumed this responsibility as most graduates in the past tended to enter the hospital work force,” says Holzemer. “The residency will support our new graduates in several ways, including with scholarships and with assistance locating appropriate experiences.”
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, patient care continues to shift from hospitals to primary care, wellness, home care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and other geriatric settings, Holzemer says.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19 percent increase in the need for registered nurses through 2022, based on the aging of the baby boomers. In New Jersey, home health care services, continuing care retirement facilities and nursing homes added a combined 16,000 jobs from 2008 to 2013.
The first out-of-hospital residents are expected to begin their assignments in the fall of 2017. In their fourth and final year leading to their nursing degree, they will be assigned a coach who can assist them in the transition from the classroom to the health care workforce. The nursing school will work with health care systems and clinical agencies to match individual strengths and career goals with the needs of the facilities where the residents will work. Rutgers will also be collaborating with clinical partners to develop greater opportunities for new graduates to have in-hospital residency experiences.
Coaching will later be integrated into a new career counseling center – one of a series of changes Holzemer plans to implement at the school following the residency rollout.
“The transition to health care practice is difficult and out-of-hospital settings are more demanding,” Holzemer says “We plan to use the work we do to develop the out-of-hospital residency program as a strategy to revise the undergraduate curricula with an increased focus on population health and care outside of the hospital.
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