July 19, 2010 - A national accreditation agency officially recognized by the US Secretary of Education has recently announced the accreditation of 2 members of the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) that participate in the UHC/American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Nurse Residency ProgramTM.
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited the 400-bed University of Colorado Hospital and the 596-bed University of Kansas Hospital—the only 2 hospitals in the nation to receive national accreditation for their respective nurse residency programs.
To qualify for nurse residency program accreditation, hospitals must meet standards in 4 areas: institutional commitment and resources, curriculum, program faculty, and effectiveness.
"These UHC members have made nurse residency programs a priority and we're pleased that their efforts to invest in their nursing staff have been recognized by CCNE," said Roberta G. Graham, UHC executive vice president. "We are proud to offer the 1-year UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ to graduate nurses to help them develop advanced clinical judgment and promote safe, quality care."
The CCNE is an autonomous arm of the AACN. UHC has worked in conjunction with AACN to develop the UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program™, which offers a curriculum and support for new graduate nurses. Nearly 14,000 nurses have participated in the UHC/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ since its inception in 2002, and the average turnover rate for program participants has dropped to 5.6%—approximately one-fifth the national average.
Turnover among new nurses is a major issue in hospitals nationwide. In fact, the median voluntary turnover rate for first-year nurses is 27.1%, according to a July 2007 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute. According to the latest projections from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1 million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2016.
Since the University of Kansas Hospital started its nurse residency program in 2003, first-year nurse retention rates have improved dramatically, to an average of 95%. While retention of talented nurses is important, especially in an era of nursing shortages, University of Kansas Hospital Education Specialist Robyn Setter, MS, RN-BC, said she also believes the program helps nurses progress to leadership roles such as nurse manager, unit educator, and clinical nurse coordinator, and become leaders in bedside care and safety.
In addition to improvements in retention rates, the University of Colorado Hospital expects to see an improvement in recruiting for nurses. The human resources department at the hospital expects 500 applicants for a class of 30 residency openings, helping ensure high-quality patient care through this additional training. Its post-baccalaureate nurse residency program was established to improve patient care by providing support and additional training to new baccalaureate nursing graduates.
The University of Colorado Hospital's commitment to nursing residency is clear. In 1998, Colleen Goode, RN, PhD, then chief nursing officer, helped form a national task force convened with the AACN that ultimately led to the creation of a post-baccalaureate nurse residency demonstration project for the hospital. University of Colorado Hospital Professional Resources Director May Krugman, RN, PhD, headed the team leading to the CCNE site visit last October, which resulted in accreditation.
The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), formed in 1984, is an alliance of 107 academic medical centers and 233 of their affiliated hospitals, representing approximately 90% of the nation's nonprofit academic medical centers. UHC offers its members specific programs and services to improve clinical, operational, financial, and patient safety performance. The mission of UHC is to advance knowledge, foster collaboration, and promote change to help members succeed in their respective markets. For more information, visit www.uhc.edu.