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First Cohort of BBGH Nurses Graduate from Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program

On Aug. 8 and 9, Box Butte General Hospital (BBGH) nurses, Courtney Schnell, Sarah Davis, Trevor Ridenour, and Tosha Greene, presented their final projects for the Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program, completing their requirements for graduation.

The Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program is a 12-month transitional program offered by the University of Iowa. It is designed to help recent RN graduates transition from student life to working as professional nurses.

During the program, residents complete online educational modules, participate in monthly live discussions with other residents from across the country, maintain a weekly transition journal, have monthly check-ins with their on-site coordinator, and complete a Professionalism in Action Experience project. 

“Honestly, the first year on the job as a new grad can often be the toughest, as it comes with starting an entirely new adventure and, not only are you learning new information, but you’re also putting the education you already have into action,” Brianna Sherlock, BBGH’s on-site coordinator for the residency program, said. “This program provides each of our residents the tools and skills they need to be successful and provide the upmost care to our patients at BBGH. We as a facility truly want to ensure that our new grads are taken care of and have the best chance to succeed.”

BBGH partnered with the University of Iowa in August 2022 to bring this program to first-year nurses, with the intention of increasing recruitment and retention rates. Schnell, Davis, Ridenour, and Greene are the first nurses from BBGH to graduate from the program.

For their Professionalism in Action Experience project, the residents had a choice of completing a change project, a case study or a type of committee work. All four BBGH residents completed change projects, with topics ranging from the importance of performing mock education drills, the benefits of a Hercules system hospital bed which makes it easier for nurses to readjust patients, and need to implement disinfecting caps that would reduce the risk of patients contracting bloodstream infections.

“I was thoroughly impressed with all the projects that our residents presented last week in front of their peers, nurse managers and executive team,” Sherlock said. “I truly feel these Professional Experience projects helped the residents to utilize the skills they had gained throughout the program and apply it to a concern that they saw within their specific roles to better our own hospital.”

Chief Nursing Officer Jordan Colwell said that, in the future, more “hands-on learning” will be incorporated into to the program to help first-year nurses add to the wellbeing and compassion aspects taught in the online program.