April 8, 2014

Starting off on the right foot: CVPH program supports new nurses

CVPH program supports new nurses


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Kelly Day knows that attending school to be a nurse is a far different experience than actually working as one in a hospital.

“I guess the most difficult thing is trying to get communication with doctors down,” said the registered nurse, who was hired by CVPH Medical Center last June upon her graduation from Clinton Community College.

Thanks to the hospital’s new Nurse Residency Program, however, Day has learned how to better relay patient information to physicians, as well as other tools to assist her in making the transition from student to clinician.

“Even though nursing school gives you the education you need to be a nurse, (the Residency Program) kind of gives you the education you need to be the best nurse at the facility you’re working at,” she said.


Launched in December 2013, the yearlong program was created for all first-time nurses to participate in once they have completed their orientation at the hospital.

“The new nurses, when they’re coming out of college and they’re entering into the profession, they face many challenges, like role transitions, high-performance expectations, (a) high-acuity setting and an increased level of accountability,” said Stephanie Drown, lead of the residency program and clinical operations supervisor for the hospital’s Resource Pool.

There are currently 53 program participants, all of whom were hired since June. They will meet for a total of five eight-hour sessions focused on educational topics, ranging from stress management and communication to various clinical situations.

“We’re building each day this year as we go, and we’re really gearing it toward feedback that we’re getting back from the nurses of what their needs are, what they’re having troubles with,” Drown said.


The program is run by a team of clinical education managers, including Drown, Tara Ebere, Rachael Hite and Carly Haag, as well as CVPH’s Learning and Development Manager Karen Phillips.

“The five of us are available for all of the new nurses at anytime,” Drown said. “We’re there for them to reach out to.”

The team also checks in with the nurses regularly and sends out weekly emails with supplemental information.

In addition, the program’s classes also include 30-minute peer support sessions led by Zaidee Laughlin, during which participants discuss the clinical situations they are facing at that time.

The nurses also meet with members of the hospital’s administration, including Chief Operating Officer Debra Donahue and Associate Vice President of Patient Services Carrie Howard Canning.

“They come in as administration because they don’t have a daily contact with the new nurses, but they want to show their support of them entering in the facility,” Drown said.


Donahue, Canning and CVPH’s Assistant Vice President of Learning and Development Julie Brunell played an integral part in the creation of the program, according to Drown.

“We spent so much time developing this because we want people to get off on the right foot, and we want them to be indoctrinated into a culture that’s positive, that promotes that professional growth,” said Christine Blake, publications specialist/public relations with CVPH. “These folks have spent a lot of money on their education; we’re investing a great amount of time and energy in recruiting them; we want them to succeed.”

“They’re the future of CVPH,” Drown added.

The hope, she continued, is that the program with also decrease burnout among nurses.

“Nursing is such a rewarding career, but it also can be very stressful,” Drown said. “It can be overwhelming to the new nurses.”

So far, she noted, the program has received positive feedback from its participants.

“It’s kind of been like a cushion,” Day said.

“We’re all super excited about it,” Drown added.

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