RN Transition to Practice Program as a Model for Bridging the Education and Practice Gap

2016 Spring Newsletter, Initiative Updates

NYACH’s Registered Nurse (RN) Transition to Practice program, developed in partnership with the Greater New York Hospital Association and Lehman College, aims to address two key problems in the field of nursing: newly licensed RNs without nursing work experience oftentimes have difficulty securing their first jobs, and that hospitals are in need of nurses with clinical experience, particularly for specialty units. In creating this program, NYACH and its partners aim to bridge the gap between education and practice for New York City nurses.

Program participants are licensed nurses who had been actively seeking and unable to find employment as an RN. The students receive a total of 30 hours per week of didactic and clinical training throughout the six month program. Eighty percent of that time is spent doing hands-on clinical nursing at a partner hospital under the supervision of a trained preceptor nurse and twenty percent of the time participants receive classroom and simulation training at Lehman College. The curriculum for the didactic portion of the program was developed with employer input and focuses on critical thinking, communication, leadership, and research skills, while the clinical experience enhances students’ competencies and confidence in a hospital setting.

The first two cohorts of the program, which ended in December of 2014 and 2015, showed promising outcomes. All nurses were either underemployed or unemployed at the start of this program; currently 88% of the 43 students enrolled in the first two cohorts are employed as full-time RNs with an average wage of $73,500 per year. The majority of these nurses were hired at their precepting program partner hospital. Six months following their hire, 100% of the nurses were still working at their preceptor hospital site.

Overall, the majority of the students credit this program for their current employment, including those who are now working in specialty units such as Neonatal Intensive Care. All of the nurses from the most recent cohort reported that the program made them both more confident and competent nurses, citing various hard and soft skills that were sharpened during their time with the program including patient advocacy, critical thinking, and taking thorough case notes. One program graduate stated, “I hope [the program] keeps going because it really does help. It should be a widespread thing in New York, not just this one [program]. It’s something that bridges the gap between school and real-world situations. It was a great bridge.”

Participating hospitals have also reported the value of the program. One employer stated “My heart was in this program; I was pretty engaged with it and believe in it.” Hospital partners to date include Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Mount Sinai Brooklyn, Bronx Lebanon Hospital, New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, and NYC Health + Hospitals Corporation (Bellevue, Kings County, and Metropolitan).

The third cohort is currently underway and is scheduled to complete in July 2016.