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Helping train tomorrow’s nurses

May 06, 2011
National Nurses Week, May 6–12, 2011

Since instituting its Nurse Residency program, 95.7% of St. Mary’s new nurses are still with the hospital after one year. Across the country, up to half of graduate nurses without this support leave their first job within a year.

Hospitalized patients see nurses more than any other healthcare professional. But as our population ages and the number of patients increases, the number of nurses is declining.

“Nursing is a demanding but rewarding profession,” says Carla Gallaway, RN, director of Nursing Practice and Education, “and the simple fact is we need more nurses. That’s why St. Mary’s is dedicated to training and education.”

Students from western Colorado nursing schools receive clinical training at St. Mary’s. “We host 650 clinical training rotations for student nurses each year,” Gallaway says. Before graduation student nurses also complete a practicum in an area of special interest to them, Gallaway explains. “Students from all over the country come here for this intensive training experience which pairs them one-on-one with a St. Mary’s nurse.”

One of only two Colorado hospitals participating in a national training project, St. Mary’s continues to support and teach nurses after graduation with a nurse residency program. “Every new graduate nurse we hire is enrolled in our nurse residency program,” Gallaway says. “Monthly education and day-to-day support from a nurse educator smooth the transition to being a staff nurse.”