In 1992, Jane Englebright joined HCA as a 34-year old critical care nurse. Twenty four years later, she is now the organization’s chief nursing executive, leading approximately 79,000 affiliated nurses in HCA hospitals around the country. A compassionate clinician, a devoted mentor and educator, and a national nursing leader, this ‘nurse’s nurse’ has seen the profession evolve over the years, and believes still “nursing is changing right before our eyes.”

“Older nurses, like me, are retiring at larger, faster rates now,” Dr. Englebright explains. “HCA nursing has more Millennials than Baby Boomers for the first time. New nursing graduates can’t find jobs. Many hospitals are holding out, trying to recruit those experienced nurses that are just not there. This is part of the reality we’re coming to grips with right now.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The nurses who are with us have incredible talent, and provide exceptional care for our patients every day. The question is, how do we complement their skill and better prepare for the future in bedside care? For HCA’s nursing leader, the answer was simple: “ramp up our nurse residency programs for new graduates.”

With that, HCA’s TriStar Division is set to launch its inaugural Nurse Residency program for the 2017 winter cohort, beginning February 13. The division, which touches five geographic regions – Bowling Green, Ky., Chattanooga and Nashville, Tenn., Northwest Georgia and Northeast Atlanta – will hire and assimilate newly graduated RNs into nursing units throughout its 22-hospital system.

“We’re excited about this opportunity to grow our network of nurses in many different locations, and offer them a chance to begin their career with confidence,” says Debianne Peterman, Ph.D., and TriStar Health’s vice president for clinical education and professional development. “This program allows us to have a pipeline of young, eager nurses consistently come into our organization and, once developed, follow their own career path throughout TriStar or HCA.”

HCA’s size – 169 hospitals and more than 26 million patient encounters – and a growing nurse residency program allows nurses to, according to Dr. Englebright, follow their passion no matter what it is – urgent care, call center, hospital – and never have to start all over.

Dr. Peterman, one of a core group of individuals who helped spearhead the TriStar Nurse Residency initiative, agrees: “In our program, no matter what size hospital you want to work in, whether it’s in a small, rural community or a metropolitan area like Nashville, you’re going to have the same opportunities,” she says.

Within the TriStar Nurse Residency program, nursing students who are preparing to graduate, recent nurse grads or nurses with less than or equal to six months experience can look forward to:

  • an interview and hiring process by your hospital and care area of choice;
  • orientation with online, classroom and simulation learning, as well as unit-specific training with a nurse preceptor (teacher);
  • monthly professional development sessions on topics, including, but not limited to:
    • culture of safety, critical conversations, crucial accountability and ethics;
    • joining a professional nursing organization;
    • pursuing nursing certification, and;
    • obtaining higher education.

“We’re hoping to attract the best and the brightest to our hospitals,” Dr. Peterman says, “and start them off strong in their career and on good footing. Our goal is to develop professional nurses and create a healthy staffing level at each of our hospitals and in every care area, ultimately, resulting in safe, quality patient care.

An additional benefit of a full complement of nurses is a boost in morale, Dr. Peterman, who also holds a master’s of science in nursing, says. “Our new residents will bring a new level of energy, excitement and remind everyone why they chose nursing in the first place. It’s one of those things you can’t really measure, but you’ll definitely feel.”

Nursing. It’s changing right before our eyes…and we’re changing and growing with it.

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HCA-TriStar Eastside Medical Center (Ga.) Nurse Residents

The TriStar Nurse Residency program application window is now open. Applications are being accepted now through September 23. Please visit here for more information on the nurse residency program and the application process.