Two years ago, Barbara Martucci, RN, MSN, was recruited to become director of education at Lincoln Park (N.J.) Health Care, a long-term and sub-acute care company. LPHC is a three-building campus with 550 long-term behavioral health residents in the Lincoln Park Care Center, 60 sub-acute care guests in the Jerry and Dolores Turco Medical Rehab Center and 159 residents in the Lincoln Park Renaissance Rehab and Nursing Center. With nearly 900 employees and 706 beds, orientation is constant.
Nurses who are new to Lincoln Park usually are not new to nursing, Martucci said. They often have nursing home, hospice, home care and acute care experience. New nurses cannot compete with seasoned nurses who are applying for the same positions, so LPHC has started recruiting new nurses in an effort to give recent BSN graduates experience.
To accommodate the new nurses, Martucci was asked to develop an RN residency program for RNs who graduated from different nursing schools. She was charged with creating a curriculum that included clinical experience in all three buildings with extended classroom time. The intent of the program is to offer new nurses exposure to the three types of populations on campus so they can see which interest them most.
The first group of nine nurse residents included Trisha Colyer, RN, Felician College; Jackline Otieno, RN, Essex County College; Tetiana Lihin, RN, Poltava Vase Medical College in Poland; Kristen Murphy-Doran, RN, Eastwick College; Magdalena Podgorska, RN, Passaic County College; Heather Boylan, RN, Seton Hall University; Jennifer Zerres, RN, County College of Morris; Nerli Oscar, RN, Fairleigh Dickinson University; and Laura Schwabacher, RN, Bergen County College.From left, are Heather Boylan, RN, Seton Hall University; Jennifer Zerres, RN, County College of Morris; Barbara Martucci, RN, director of education; Magdalena Podgorska, RN, Passaic County College; and Laura Schwabacher, RN, Bergen County College.
Martucci teaches new RNs about topics such as legal nursing documentation, Alzheimer’s disease, end-of-life care, clinical accountability, safe handling, pain management and fall prevention. Nurses in the program also learn about pulmonary, neurological, cardiac and post-operative assessments and how to manage Wound Vac.
Martucci also sets up interdisciplinary guest lectures by physical therapists, vendors, social workers, directors of nursing, recreational therapists, dietitians, administrators and performance improvement specialists. One of the most important long-term lessons the new RNs learn, Martucci said, is the cultural philosophy that nurses work in the resident’s home; the residents don’t live where the nurses work. Because residents’ rooms are the places they call home, nurses and other staff are invited as guests to change tubings, bathe, administer medications, provide treatment and make beds.
In the classroom, new nurses learn to role play, listen to guest speakers, respond to simulated resident scenarios, interview residents and guests, watch equipment demonstrations, learn how to transcribe, review policies and procedures, examine open and closed medical records and participate in team-building exercises.
Each RN was emailed a nurse’s aide PowerPoint he or she had to present to the class. “It was a valuable and exciting exchange of energy,” Martucci said. “They have since been placed on their respective units with seasoned preceptors who will help them evolve into the amazing nurses they aspire to be.”
At the end of class, the new nurses learn where they will be working as RNs. Zerres was assigned to behavioral health at the Lincoln Park Care Center. Murphy-Doran, Oscar, Schwabacher, Otieno, Podgorska and Lihin were assigned to care for patients in the Jerry and Dolores Turco Medical Rehab Center. Colyer and Boylan joined the Lincoln Park Renaissance Rehab and Nursing Center family.