Published on April 19, 2022

Essentia Health unveils nursing residency program

At Essentia Health, our nursing vision statement emphasizes “exceptional nurses delivering extraordinary care while advancing practice.”

Our new nursing residency program furthers that vision.

The residency program begins this week and is for new graduates hired by Essentia who have less than one year of nursing experience. In addition to unit-based orientation, these nurses will attend one four-hour session per month for 12 months. There are two cohorts — each with about 40 nurses — starting this spring.

Recent nurse grads will benefit from a series of learning and clinical work experiences designed to build their skills in a specific department and across both inpatient and outpatient settings. There are myriad benefits, with improved patient outcomes chief among them. A residency program of this kind supports nurses as they transition from school to a professional career.

“The nurse residency program further demonstrates Essentia’s commitment to supporting the professional development of nurses, and will assist in both recruitment and retention,” said Rhonda Kazik, Essentia’s chief nursing officer. “This is another way that we’re investing in our nurses.”

The residency program’s curriculum will incorporate evidence-based best practices and the content will be presented by subject matter experts from Essentia — other nurses and leaders, for example. Each four-hour session will feature presentations as well as interactive components, including small-group projects and breakout groups for more in-depth analysis of certain topics.

Sessions will be conducted in-person at Essentia facilities in Brainerd, Duluth and Fargo. They will focus on leadership, quality outcomes, professional roles and building upon nursing-school experiences. Nurses who work in more remote locations can attend virtually.

“This residency program is designed to ensure our nurses have the resources they need to provide the kind of care our patients expect and deserve,” said Lana Helgeson, nursing professional development practitioner at Essentia and the residency program’s lead educator. “Ideally, at the end of the program, graduates will have transitioned from an advanced beginner to a competent professional in the clinical environment, strengthening his or her commitment to nursing as a professional career choice.”

Essentia’s residency program supports our Journey Towards Magnet Designation, a prestigious distinction that honors health care systems for creating and sustaining a culture of excellence among its nurses.