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Via Christi adds residency program for new nurses

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 8:25 a.m.

Via Christi is launching a new residency program for students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in nursing to help them transition from education to practice.

It’s the first nursing residency program in the Wichita area, Via Christi officials said. They hope the program will help improve competency among new nurses and improve patient safety.

“When I first became a nurse, my first night out I had 18 patients, no preceptor and one nurse aide. That was how we used to bring nurses on board: trial and error, and you hoped you did the right thing. With this program you’ll know you did the right thing,” said Linda Goodwin, chief nursing officer for Via Christi hospitals in Wichita.

Via Christi will accept 10 nursing residents from the May 2014 graduating class and another 10 from the December 2014 graduating class with plans to expand the program in the future, said Jennifer Rodgers, senior director for education and clinical practice at Via Christi.

The yearlong program will include eight hours of training a month that will focus on simulation, teamwork, critical thinking, time management and other skills.

Residents will be able to focus on certain areas during residency including oncology, orthopedics, critical care, medical/surgical and general practice, Rodgers said.

They will work at both Via Christi St. Francis and Via Christi St. Joseph, and the program will also be held virtually at Via Christi’s hospitals in Manhattan and Pittsburg, Rodgers said.

“It will only support positive outcomes for patients and that’s really what it’s all about,” said Betty Smith-Campbell, chair and professor for Wichita State University’s school of nursing, who is encouraging students to apply for the residency.

In the future, Smith-Campbell said she’d like to see residency programs available at public health departments and community clinics.

The first classes will begin at the end of July or beginning of August, Rodgers said.

More health systems nationwide are offering nurse residency programs, Rodgers said. Among the possible benefits is better retention of nursing staff.

Via Christi has set a goal of 80 percent of its nurses having a bachelor’s degree by 2020.

There are about 1,700 nurses with Via Christi in Wichita and about 2,300 throughout the entire Via Christi system.

Applications for the residency program are open until April 25. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average, letters of recommendation and a cover letter.

For more information, contact Amruta Dixit with Via Christi at 316-719-3371 or amruta.dixit@viachristi.org.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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