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Post-Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program

Thank you for your interest in the Post-Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program in Albuquerque, NM. The mission of this program is to provide novice registered nurses with exceptional clinical training, didactics and mentorship to enhance clinical competence, increase confidence to practice independently, and become well-prepared to provide high quality care to Veterans.

PB-RNR Residency Program Application

The New Mexico VA Health Care System (NMVAHCS) is centered in Albuquerque on a busy, historic campus with an expansive service area that covers the entire State of New Mexico, and parts of both Southern Colorado and Eastern Arizona. After a core clinical experience, nurse residents will select from specialty areas for on-going clinical education.

Program Structure

The residency is 12 months in length and will include clinical rotations and multidisciplinary experiences focused on facilitating the transition of newly graduated baccalaureate nurse from advanced beginners to competent professional nurses with the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide exceptional care to Veterans.

Skills Intensive: Recognizing that skill competency is a significant barrier to progression and a primary concern for new graduate nurses, a self and faculty evaluation of skills will be completed upon entering the residency program. With faculty input, each resident will create a personalized plan to address skill gaps with facility subject-matter experts. The first two to four weeks of the residency will focus on skills improvement to increase competence, confidence, and safety.

Clinical Activities: After skills intensive, residents will be assigned a dedicated preceptor on a medsurg unit for approximately three months. Alternative sites may be considered based on experience, preference, and career goals. At approximately four months, the Program Director and resident will create a preliminary career plan. Based on this plan, the next clinical rotation/rotations will be selected. These may include the step-down unit, critical care areas, psychiatric specialties, and clinic locations. At approximately eight months, the career plan will be re-evaluated and the resident may select an area of interest for potential employment.

Didactic Activities: Didactic activities will connect clinical scholarship with bedside practice and Veteran-centered care. Activity examples include case studies, presentations by subject-matter experts and leadership, article reviews, journaling, clinical reflections, and interprofessional education. An evidence-based quality improvement project including LEAN healthcare training will be competed during this time. Coaching will be provided by a PI specialist from the Innovation, Reliability, Informatics & Improvement Service (IRI) to ensure both understanding and successful project completion.

Training Areas: The NMVAHCS prides itself on collaboration across service and professional lines for the benefit of trainees, employees, and Veterans. Subject matter experts throughout the facility will be involved in the comprehensive training offered in the PB-RNR program. All inpatient nursing care areas will be used as well as procedural areas such as Cath lab, GI studies, Urology Clinic, and the Infusion Clinic. Specialty areas such as psychiatric inpatient units, outpatient clinics (primary care, co-occurring clinics primary care mental health), Community Living Center, Spinal Cord Unit, residential treatment units, and the Homeless Outreach Program will also be included. Special emphasis will be placed on activities and areas that allow residents to more fully appreciate the uniquely integrated VA approach and VA’s commitment to suicide prevention, homelessness reduction, and PTSD care.

The strong academic partnership between NMVAHCS and University of New Mexico College of Nursing (UNM CON) will enable the PB-RN residents to further enhance clinical, communication and practical skills. Residents will participate in structured activities that balance skill mastery, development of critical thinking, interprofessional collaboration, and scholarly endeavors to transition newly graduated baccalaureate nurses from advanced beginner toward competent professional nurse.

PB- RNR Salary and Benefits

Residents in our program are considered federal trainees with a competitive stipend/salary of $56,240 and a comprehensive benefits package that includes in part, paid vacation and sick leave, 10 paid holidays and health benefits. The resident stipend is based on the current year’s allocation rate for the local area.

Application Process The program currently supports a total of six (6) residents a year.  
I. PB-RNR Eligibility:      

  • US Citizenship     
  • Graduate from a baccalaureate program in nursing program accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • FIRST RN ROLE                                                                                           
  • Recent graduate (within the past 12 months)     
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English     
  • Completion of each of the following upon program acceptance: drug screen, background investigation, lab and physical exam, tuberculosis skin testing, flu shot, Hep B titer.
  • Application Requirements:    
  1. Completed PB-RNR Application 
  2. Curriculum Vitae/Resume to include each of the following in this order:
  • Education
  • Work experience including internship or VALOR participation and military service
  • Healthcare volunteer related activities
  • Student Nurse Association Involvement
  • Awards/Honors                                                                                                                                                                                                     

3. Other requirements:

  • “Unofficial” nursing school transcripts (Official transcripts are required upon graduation) 
  • A copy of recent BLS
  • A copy of RN License (If not available at time of application, include scheduled NCLEX date; A valid RN license is required prior to the beginning of residency)**

Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  • GPA (cumulative GPA of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale)
  • VALOR or Nurse Intern Participation
  • Healthcare-related volunteer activities
  • Student Nurse Association involvement
  • Military Service  

Complete applications will immediately be moved forward for consideration and candidates will be considered until all positions are filled; therefore, early submission is highly recommended.       For questions regarding the application process or residency program, please email (preferred) or or call 505-265-1711, ext. 6970 or or call 505-265-1711 ext. 2790. Submit completed application requirements electronically via email to:

Clinical Affiliation Coordinator

505-265-1711 ext. 2364 or ext. 4587

Please cc Residency Program Coordinators: Debra Pappler, and Alicia Barela,

  1. Program Start Date: July/August or December/January

The letter of acceptance will include follow-up instructions regarding completion of the HR process, introductory meetings with the Residency Director and Coordinator, information regarding residency appointment and new employee orientation.

Residency Program Contacts:

Debra Pappler, MSN, RN

Alicia Barela

505-265-1711, ext. 6970

Cynthia Nuttall, PhD, RN