Program Helps Train and Retain New Nurses

Dawna Cato, Co-Lead of the Practice Task Force, speaks about the Abrazo Community Health Network’s New Graduate Development Academy and Residency Program



Dawna Cato, RN, PhD

Rita Haman, RN, MSN-Ed., CEN

Implementation of Nurse Residency Programs is recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the landmark report The Future of Nursing Leading Change, Advancing Health. According to the IOM, transition-to-practice nurse residency programs reduce turnover, reduce costs, provide staffing stability and support newly licensed nurses in the development of clinical decision making and autonomy (2011). Historically, transition-to-practice nurse residency programs primarily focused on post-licensure baccalaureate graduates moving into acute care settings. However, with the new healthcare reform it is anticipated that nurses will shift from the acute care arena to community based settings. This will require nurse to have competence in chronic illness, home settings, and transitional care (IOM, 2011).

In Arizona, innovative strategies are being developed to support the transition-to-practice nurse residency program for academic baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral nursing programs and across all health care settings. Through a practice-academic collaboration transition-to-practice nurse residency programs can be developed to optimize both the practice and academic arenas with intentional outcomes of assimilation into the professional role.

The Education and Practice Task Forces developed the Education-Practice Collaborative (EPC) for the Arizona Action Coalition. This collaborative is tasked with moving the transition-to-practice nurse residency initiative forward. Progress is occurring as academic institutions and practice organizations embrace the transition-to-practice nurse residency program goals and objectives. By identifying the practice organizations individual culture, resources, and intended outcomes; the practice-academic collaboration can build a transition-to-practice nurse residency program that will strengthen the onboarding process and increase the intellectual competence of the professional nursing workforce.


For more information on building a practice-academic partnership for transition-to-practice nurse residency programs please contact Dawna Cato at or Rita Haman, DNP Student at .



Institute of Medicine. 2011. The future of nursing leading change, advancing health: A Report Brief of the Future of Nursing Focus on Education. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Retrieved from: