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Helping New Grads Find Their Way

La GRANGE, Ill. — The first time Audra Meiliulyte walked into Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, she got lost.

Meiliulyte, a graduate of Triton College in River Grove, Ill., did not have to look far for assistance.

“I’m not kidding, one out of three people offered help,” she said. “I met one person who was running late for his shift. I asked him a question and he said, ‘OK, I’m going to walk you there.’

“I said, ‘I think you’re late.’ And he said, ‘No, I’m going to walk you.’ ”

Kaylea Joy

Over the next year, Meiliulyte and 13 other new graduate nurses will find plenty of support from each other and their co-workers at four Adventist Midwest Health facilities around the Greater Chicago region as part of the health system’s New Graduate RN Residency program.

A group of 14 new graduate nurses, chosen from 204 applicants, will take part in a program designed to offer education and training beyond nursing school.

Nicole Van Woerkom

“We’re really going to focus on that new nurse transition from the role of student they were in two months ago to professional nursing practice,” said Debbi DelRe, RN, MSN, new graduate RN educator for Adventist Midwest Health, at a reception Sept. 9 for the program’s 14 students. “You can’t do that overnight. We want to provide help in that transition.”

Along with two to three months of unit-specific orientation, which began in September, the program will include regular cohort meetings with DelRe and the participants.

“I told them, ‘This is your safe place,’ ” DelRe said. “They’re going to laugh there. They’re going to cry there.”

Members of Adventist Midwest Health’s New Grad RN Residency program are front row, from left, Kaylea Joy, Kristin Duncan, Kristina Kubkowski, Heather Viglielmo, and Audra Meilulyte, along with top row, from left, Kelly McCann, Kayleigh Kamphuis, Katherine Thomas, Allison Dahm, Ashley Rissman, and Nicole Van Woerkom. Not pictured are Nishita Desai, Colleen Hanna, and Mary Ann Gomez.

For Chicago State University graduate Kaylea Joy, who will work at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights, Ill., along with Nicole Van Woerkom, having the support of her peers is invaluable.

“That’s one of the best parts, knowing that I have Nicole … and 13 people to support you and bounce ideas off of,” Joy said.

Joy and Van Woerkom will spend the next year at GlenOaks, while Meiliulyte and three others will work in La Grange, and two members of the program will work at Adventist Bolingbrook. The largest group of new graduates (six) will call Adventist Hinsdale Hospital home.

Among the numerous benefits of the program, DelRe said, will be increased nurse retention, more teamwork, and better patient care.

DelRe and Adventist Midwest Health also have assembled a group of 27 preceptors to educate the cohort on topics such as respiratory health, neurological issues, and moral and ethical dilemmas.

“The amount that I am going to learn is going to be phenomenal,” said Van Woerkom, a graduate of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill. “We’re going to learn 10 times more in the first year than we would have otherwise.”

Barry Bottino is a regional editor for Nursing Spectrum.

By | 2020-04-15T14:48:19-04:00 October 19th, 2009|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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