How to Select the Best Nursing Residency Program

Mon, Sep 17, 2012

Internship Information

If you’ve completed your degree program in nursing, you’ve done a good deal of the work that will insure your future career. Congratulations on getting this far! It’s a tough field, with challenging coursework and a demanding schedule. So graduating is certainly an accomplishment. However, the road to becoming a nurse is not yet complete. You now have to go through a residency program, during which you’ll receive on-the-job training that is crucial to your development as a nurse and your ability to obtain the position that you want. But how do you go about selecting the residency program that’s right for you? There are so many variables to consider, and any number of schools and hospitals at which to work. The choice is going to come down to balancing the specifics of the opportunity with your personal preferences, and you alone will have to make the decision. Here are a few things to keep in mind that should help you select the best nursing residency program.

The first and most important aspect to consider is the program itself. How stable is the program and the institution itself? These are tough times for most industries, and healthcare has certainly been hard hit. You must make sure that the program will be around for the long haul, and that the hospital is in solid financial shape before starting a residency program. But economic stability is only one piece of the pie. The best programs also have an educational team that has been in place for a long time, and isn’t going anywhere. Find out how long the department chair has been on staff, and whether there are any changes expected. A solid program will be well equipped to help you succeed. Education and economics aside, you also must make sure that you are going to be personally comfortable in the program. The goal is to find an institution that welcomes people from all backgrounds, that stays involved in the community and brings together a group of residents that you will enjoy working with. Not all programs are the same, and you’ll want an environment that shares your liberal or conservative perspective, to make sure you are on board with their practices.

Location is another factor of key importance. Many nurses stay on in a permanent capacity after their residency is complete, so choosing a location now could have far reaching implications for your career and your life in general. Certain parts of the country are more expensive than others, so you’ll need to understand what you could end up earning after your residency program, and whether it will be enough to live comfortably in that region. And outside of the institution, is there enough to do in that area to keep you entertained? You’ll certainly be working long hours, but you want to enjoy your community when you are off duty. So if you hate the cold weather, a residency in Boston might not be the best choice for you. You’ll also need to think about the type of patients you’ll find in these locations. If you are interested in supporting underserved segments of the population, an inner city program might be best for you. If you want to work with the elderly, you’ll probably want your residency to occur in a part of the country where they are prominently found. If you have no preference either way this won’t come into play. But keep the patient population in mind as you review the location.

Finally, consider how your family will be affected by your choice. If you have a significant other, a husband, a wife or children, you’ll have to keep them in mind as well. Your residency program will take a good deal of time, and they’ll be relocating along with you. Is this a fit for those people most important to you as well? Or would they rather you hop on RNBSN.com and find some other options? Make sure you talk out the pros and cons of each program with your family, until everyone is on board. You’ll be able to focus on your work with a clear mind if you know your family is taken care of and content.

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