Best Workplaces for New Grads

Amanda Ghosh - 05/28/19

Wondering where to work after graduation? Prioritize employers who offer robust orientations. We list our top picks and describe the nurse residency program option.

Our Picks—Top 3 Employers for New Nurses

1. Northwell (Multiple locations throughout the U.S.)

Northwell is making a big name for themselves in the healthcare industry. They offer a strong orientation program for new nurses as well as specialty fellowships.

Their orientation program consists of an Introduction to Clinical Practice Program (ICP) and a Learning Lab.

ICP makes sure new grads are up-to-speed using high fidelity simulation, skills validation, case studies, and eLearning. Novice nurses can practice their skills in the learning lab and receive feedback from nurse educators.

Northwell also offers a Nursing Leadership Basics Programfor aspiring leaders and fellowship programsin emergency medicine, critical care, pediatrics, oncology, and perioperative nursing.

Nurses who participate in Northwell’s Nurse Fellowship program receive mentorship from veteran nurses and simulation training as well as a curriculum-based education in their specialty.

Fellowships have multiple start dates each year, although opportunities vary according to institutional needs.

Nurses in their junior year of college should also consider Northwell’s Summer Nurse Extern Program. This is an 8-week paid preceptorship, and it’s available in multiple specialties. Students enjoy weekly in-service training sessions.

2. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, TN)

Vanderbilt also has a strong orientation program. But they are known for their nurse residency programs.

Each residency programfocuses on critical skills, including delegation, time management, patient engagement, and ethical decision making. The program also helps new nurses build their “emotional toolkit.”

Nurse grads can choose from multiple track options based on their interests and goals.

Currently, Vanderbilt offers residency programs in adult cardiac stepdown, adult acute care, adult critical care, adult oncology, behavioral health, pediatric acute care, pediatric critical care, and women’s health.

Each residency program provides new nurses with hands-on training at the department level. Expect to be eased into your new role as a professional nurse. You won’t be tossed into the proverbial fire.

New nurses can also apply for Vanderbilt’s Adult Perioperative Internship Program.

3. OU Medicine (Oklahoma)

OU has an excellent nurse residency program. They made our list for their emphasis on one-on-one training.

New nurses participating in one of OU’s nurse residency programs are assigned a primary preceptor. Participants spend at least 12 months developing clinical skills. They engage in monthly interactive sessions with other nurses and discuss their experiences.

Clinical specialties are available, and nursing residents enjoy a variety of social networking events. OU also offers NCLEX prep assistance.

Nurse Residency Programs

If you can’t find an employer with a strong orientation program, and you’re concerned about transitioning into the role of professional nurse, consider a nursing residency.

What is a Nurse Residency?

Nurse residency programs are transitional programs.

They’re designed to bring academically prepared nurses up-to-speed in the clinical environment. As such, they focus on transitioning the newly minted nurse from nursing student to professional nurse.

Residency programs are approximately one year long and most require that you work in your unit of hire for at least two years.

These programs are paid and most, if not all, offer benefits.

Essentially, landing a spot in a nurse residency program means you’ve obtained a paid position as a nurse but also extra support to help you ease into the profession.

Where Can You Find a Nurse Residency Program?

Graduates who believe they would benefit from mentorship and training in a clinical environment are ideal candidates for nurse residency programs.

A growing number of hospitals provide nurse residency programs. The best way to determine if the hospital that you’re interested in has a residency program is to view their website.

New grads interested in a particular specialty will find a variety of specialty-specific residency programs throughout the country.

How Can You Apply to a Nurse Residency Program?

Expect to apply to nurse residency programs like you’re applying to an actual job. Usually, you get hired for the job. Then, you apply and get accepted into the residency program.

Jobs that are eligible for nurse residency programs are often advertised on job board sites with titles similar to “Nurse Resident Acute Care” or “RN resident Med-Surge.” In fact, many graduates choose to begin their job search on sites like Indeed, using search terms like “nurse residency” and “RN resident.”

Be sure to check the eligibility requirements of the program you’re interested in by researching the institution’s website or calling their human resources department. Sometimes, residency programs are restricted to nurses with less clinical training.

Embrace the Beginning of Your Career

The classroom is very different from real-world nursing. New nurses should prioritize landing a job with an employer that will support the transition to professional nursing. Although nurse residency programs are an excellent bridge to professional nursing, any employer with a strong orientation program and a healthy workplace culture will suffice.