Date of Award


Degree Name

Nursing (D.N.P.)


College of Nursing

First Advisor

Jessica VanWinkle, MSN, RN, CMSRN

Second Advisor

Barbra Hooper, DNP, MSN, RN CHSE, NE-BC,

Third Advisor

Marie VanderKooi, DNP, MSN, RN-BC


Background: Newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) face challenges as they transition from the academic setting to professional practice. These challenges can leave NLRNs feeling dissatisfied and vulnerable in their new positions. Nurse residency programs (NRPs) are an effective way to provide support for the NLRN.

Objectives: The purpose of this project was to evaluate the impact of a newly implemented NRP on NLRNs at six months related to their perception of support, patient safety, stress, communication/leadership, and professional satisfaction.

Methods: The project setting was a large midwestern children’s hospital. The sample consisted of twenty-six NLRNs who participated in the NRP and eight NLRNs who did not participate in the NRP. This evidence-based quality improvement initiative was a mixed-methods program evaluation project. The impact of the intervention was assessed using quantitative outcomes gathered from the Casey-Fink Graduate Nurse Experience Survey, and qualitative data from NRP session evaluations and preceptor interviews.

Results: Qualitative results demonstrated a positive impact from the NRP on NLRNs while quantitative results suggested no influence from the NRP on NLRN perception of support, patient safety, communication/leadership, professional satisfaction, and stress.

Conclusions: While quantitative data did not suggest that the NRP improved NLRN perception of comfort and confidence, qualitative data supports the NRP as a positive experience for the NLRNs and a benefit to its participants.

Implications: This evaluation has contributed to a better understanding of how overwhelming the six-month period of transition to practice can be for new nurses.

Available for download on Friday, April 28, 2023