Nurse Residency Program

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The RWHC Nurse Residency Program is a twelve-month structured program offering support for the nurse graduate through monthly learning days and the support of an experienced nurse, a Clinical Coach.

The goals of the program are to help the nurse resident:

  • Transition successfully to a competent practitioner
  • Enhance his/her ability to provide quality, evidence-based care
  • Advance critical thinking ability
  • Improve skills in clinical decision-making
  • Commit to life-long learning
  • Engage in a clinical nurse leadership role

RWHC Program Coordinator: Erin Smital, RN, Nursing Professional Development Educator, Nurse Residency Coordinator


"RWHC is the reason that I am still in nursing. My first year out of nursing school I was lucky enough to attend the Nurse Residency Program. While nurse residency helped with the day to day stress of taking your knowledge and actually applying it to real patients without supervision, for me it was so much more. It was a place to laugh, a place to commiserate, a place to cry and a place to feel safe with people who were going through the same things I was. Thank you RWHC for offering this wonderful program."
-- Nikki S., Nurse Residency Participant

“The Nurse Residency Program takes the overwhelming amount of information you get in nursing school and ties it all together based on things you are experiencing every day at your work place. It is a wonderful learning environment that fosters effective interdisciplinary communication and encourages you to question you and your workplaces practices. I would recommend this program to not only nurses who are just starting their practices, but also those who have been practicing for years as it provides information that is applicable to every ’level’ of nurse."
-- Jessica M., Nurse Residency Participant

"Critical thinking is something that new nurses struggle with and develop over time. This program helps develop these skills in a number of different areas throughout the time of the program. Nurses that have gone through this program seem to have a better sense of critical thinking upon completion."
-- Heidi S., Clinical Educator

"What I valued about the Nurse Residency Program was a safe place to share both struggles and successes that I was experiencing as a new nurse. I was able to learn from my peers as they shared their experiences as well. I learned how to stand up for myself and to own my own actions, and to deal with workplace conflicts in a positive way. Those are things that are not taught in school and are valuable tools that I took with me into my career as a new nurse. I would highly recommend the Nurse Residency Program to every new nurse."
-- Tammy T., Nurse Residency Participant

Curriculum Acknowledgement: The fundamental basis of this program's curriculum originated through the collaborative work between Marquette University and several Wisconsin urban and rural health care partners who ultimately developed The Wisconsin Nurse Residency Program. At the time of origination, this program was coordinated via the outstanding visionary, Marilyn Meyer Bratt, PhD, RN, Associate Professor of Marquette University, and was federally funded for three years through HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration).

RWHC Nurse Residency Program is a one year program structured around monthly learning sessions, where the new graduate nurse is highly engaged in an interactive, reflective and enriched learning environment. The sessions are designed around an effective standard curriculum for the rural nurse who is often isolated on a unit with minimal resources. Learning needs identified by the participants are also weaved into each learning session. Networking with peers who are going through the same challenges is a powerful experience for the new nurse. Small group breakout sessions are incorporated into each learning day and are facilitated with the action reflection practice model incorporating the accepted standards of practice.

 Learning Sessions Include:

Building Capacity to Learn

  • Introduction to the year long journey
  • Emphasis on the need to be a life-long learner

Building Capacity within the Self

  • Stress Management
  • Delegation
  • Prioritization/Time Management

Building Capacity as a Team Member

  • Crucial Conversations
  • Conflict Management
  • Dealing with Lateral Violence
  • Personality: Understanding Self and Others

Building Capacity as a Practitioner

  • Respiratory
  • Cardiovascular
  • Neurological and Pain
  • GI and Renal
  • Musculoskeletal and Integument
  • Pediatrics, Geriatrics and End of Life Issues

Building Capacity within the Organization

  • Understand Quality
  • Organizational Structure within Nursing Practice
  • Organizational Structure with the Healthcare System

Building Capacity within the Profession

  • Thriving as a Professional
  • Sharing our Professional Journeys

For more information, please contact Erin Smital, Nursing Professional Development Educator, at 608-643-1066 or