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Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mission is “to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans. This statement echoes the reverence given to the men and women who serve in the American military with honor. It shows that this body is tasked with the responsibility of serving them respectfully like how they served their nation.

We are dedicated to improving health, improving lives, and exceeding expectations of the communities we serve.  The Kansas City VA (KCVA) health care system mission is to “Honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and wellbeing.” The Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Resident (PB-RNR) program focus is to support the KCVA vision of being the health care system Veterans trust and choose.  The Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Resident vision folds into the overall KCVA mission through facilitation of new graduate nurses’ transition from novice nurse to professional nurse, building on and extending beyond hospital orientation and unit-specific orientation.  It is well documented in the literature that the first year of a nursing career is challenging and can be overwhelming.  KCVA is committed to support the new graduate nurse, not only in the development of their technical skills throughout orientation, but also in their professional growth and development as a KCVA nurse.  Through the PB-RNR, residents receive multiple modes of support in their first year of practice. 

The PB-RNR program is to assist the novice nurse as they transition into competent clinical practice in the Veterans Health Administration through a one-year program, that supports learning experiences in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. New graduate transition to nursing practice is a vulnerable time for new graduate nurses

The PB-RNR program is to allow for transition of new graduates to occur in a fully supportive environment that engages the use of informatics, leaders, simulation, and preceptors upon entry throughout rotations, and upon completion. The philosophy of the KCVA PB-RNR is to funnel all goals and objectives through a paradigm of caring and respect.  Caring and respect for each resident, for every colleague and co-worker, and for every Veteran and their family members.  The transitional first year of nursing practice is an evolutionary pathway that should prepare the resident for lifelong learning and develop a passion for respecting and caring for America’s Veterans.  

Upon completion of the program, the nurse resident will:

  • Demonstrate clinical competencies in an integrated VA-based, Veteran-centric environment utilizing an evidence-based curriculum and a variety of clinical practice settings.
  • Transition from an advanced beginner to competent professional who provides safe quality care.
  • Develop effective decision-making skills related to clinical judgment and performance.
  • Provide clinical leadership at the point of patient care.
  • Strengthen commitment to nursing as a professional career choice and through interaction with interdisciplinary teams.
  • Develop strategies to incorporate research-based and other evidence into practice. 
  • Focus on quality, safety and improving patient outcomes of care.
  • Formulate an individual career plan that promotes a life-long commitment to professional nursing.

Expected Outcomes of the PB-RNR program include but are not limited to:

  • A 90% completion rate for participants to complete the residency program in each cohort.
  • Achievement of a “4” or higher (on a Likert scale ranging from 1-5, where “1” is strongly disagree and “5” is strongly agree) on each individual module related to the Office of Academic Affiliations standards and curricular content alignment.
  • A 100% completion rate of an evidence-based practice project for residents completing the residency in each cohort.
  • A 90% initial hiring rate of PB-RNR participants in the Veterans Health Administration system will be a nurse 1, level 3 upon entry (The KCVA PB-RNR program will track graduate’s promotion progression from entry level as related to the VHA Nurse Professional Standards Board).
  • A 90% overall retention rate of residents at one-year post PB-RNR.
  • An 80% overall retention rate of residents at year two post PB-RNR.

The PB-RNR program will:

  • Benefit KCVA from an evidence-based, structured program guided by the PB-RNR sample curriculum from the Office of Academic Affiliations as well as the CCNE standards for accreditation.  These programs are based on what are currently known to be best practices in transitioning new graduate nurses to autonomous and competent clinical practice nurses. This program will focus on new graduates in the Veteran-centric setting of care at the KCVA.
  • Standardize evaluation tools as being used across the Veterans Health Administration to provide stronger conclusions regarding the impact of the program. This will help to shape the residency at our facility and other VA facilities nation-wide moving forward.
  • Formalize the structure for transitioning new Registered Nurse (RN) graduates into the workforce. 
  • Support evidence-based project work being done to recognize nurse sensitive indicators. 
  • Allow KCVA to become a training center and employer of choice for recruitment of new graduates. The KCVA will better compete with other local health care systems to acquire the best and brightest graduates. 

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the nation’s largest integrated health care system and is responsible for caring for our nation’s Veterans. As the population ages and faces new challenges, VHA is committed to making quality nursing care a priority. With the PBRNR, VHA continues to expand its workforce and meet the needs of those entering the practice of nursing through the promotion of academic progression.  

KCVA is in partnership with the University of Missouri School of Nursing for the Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program. The 12-Month program provides clinical and academic experiences for new graduates bridging from a baccalaureate education into a professional nurse. KCVA and UMKC partnership promotes professional role transition integration and socializations of safe care delivery, advancement in critical thinking, academic and professional excellence, and a learning environment for developing evidence-based clinical care.  

Each week throughout the program participants will be in a minimum of 8 hours of didactic/experiential coursework in a wide variety of topics including: Quality and Safety, Patient & Family Centered Care, Management of Patient Care Delivery, Management of the Changing Patient Condition, Communication and Conflict Management, Informatics and Technology, Performance Improvement and EBP, Ethical Decision Making, Stress Management, Hospital System Focus, Flow Innovations, and High Reliability Organizations. Additionally, low, and high-fidelity simulation modules are utilized to enhance training with QSEN, physical assessment, and critical thinking skills. 

Upon successful completion of the residency program RNs are given a certificate, hiring preference for open positions at any VA and the chance to interview for vacancies at the KCVA, and an automatic step increase after hire.  

Duration:     12 months
Duration:    Position(s):   12 months 6
Duration:    Starting Date:   12 months July 2022
Duration:    Estimated Stipend:   12 months $56,457
Duration:    Application Deadline:   12 months May 31, 2022
Duration:    Interview Required:  12 months Yes
  • Health insurance 
  • Annual leave (vacation) 
  • Sick leave (days off for illness/medical appointments/family care) 
  • 11 paid federal holidays  
  • Automatic step increase upon hire after successful completion of the program  
  • Hiring preference for open positions at any VA upon completion of the residency   
Residency Structure
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
Phase 1 4 months Phase 2 4 months (Varying 1 day- 3-week rotations) Phase 3 4 months
Phase 1 Home Unit Phase 2 Clinical Practice Rotations Phase 3 Home Unit
Phase 1 • Relationship building with preceptor & home unit staff • Focus on advanced beginner to competent skill building Phase 2 • Acute mental health • Emergency Department • ICUs • OR • GI lab • Cath lab • Outpatient clinics Phase 3 • Focus on competent to proficient practice in home unit setting • Increased leadership exposure and preceptor courses
Phase 1 • Weekly classes • Courses on EBP • Develop EBP Project Phase 2 • Weekly classes Phase 3 • Weekly classes • EBP Poster Presentation
  • U.S. Citizen  
  • Recent graduate with a BSN of the last 12 months from an accredited college of nursing  
  • Licensure: current, full, active, and unrestricted registration as a professional nurse in a State, Territory or Commonwealth (i.e., Puerto Rico) of the United States of the District of Columbia  
  • Active BLS certification  
  • Proficient in written and spoken English  
  • Pass a background/security investigation as required by the KCVA Medical Center  
  • Pass pre-trainee physical examination  
  • Random drug testing required  
  • Resume  
  • Official undergraduate school transcripts in a sealed envelope  
  • Two letters of recommendation  
  1. One must be from a faculty member or program director  
  2. In a sealed envelope or email directly from the writer  
  • Personal Statements  
  1. What experiences (personal, professional, educational, and/or clinical) informed your choice of nursing as a profession?  
  2. What are your goals and aspirations for this residency program, and how do they fit with your early and long-term career plans as a nurse?  
  3. Discuss your interests in working with veterans at the KCVAMC.  
  4. Maximum: 2 pages  

I would like to say thank you to all the Nurse Preceptors at the VA Hospital. As new nurses coming in, ready to work and new nurses coming in, ready to work and fresh out of nursing school, I can confidently say that we learned very quickly. The “NCLEX world and the real world” are two different places.

Nurse Preceptors are incredibly essential and always play a significant role with the transition for new nurses especially the first few months. This is when many of us feel overwhelmed, scared, and unfamiliar to our new RN jobs.

Thank you for your willingness to share your knowledge, providing a safe work environment, always encouraging us, and always answering our questions (no matter how silly they sound).

Thank you for your warmth and compassionate hearts, and for nurturing our fragile confidence.

Sujhan Montalto BSN, RN
(PB-RNR Program)

Completed application and any questions should be directed to:

Sharon Shade RN, MA  
PBRNR Program Director/Nurse Manager
816-572-7653
sharon.shade@va.gov  

Susan Bennett RN, MSN, APRN 
Faculty Advisor to KCVA PBRNR
UMKC School of Nursing & Health Studies
bennettse@umkc.edu