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Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program

The Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program, (PBRNR), program mission is to develop practice-ready Registered Nurses equipped with the knowledge and skills to care for our nation’s Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) or community. The PBRNR program assists novice nurses as they transition to a professional nurse through a one-year program that supports protected learning experiences in an interdisciplinary environment.

Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency Program

The Sioux Falls VA Health Care System is pleased you have chosen a career in the nation’s largest integrated health care system.  Our mission is to honor America's Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well being.  The Post Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Resident (PBRNR) program focus is to support the new graduate nurses as they transition from novice to professional nurse, building on and enhancing baccalaureate training experiences.  The residents in this program will have 100% protected learning time throughout the 12-month residency. 

At the conclusion of the program nurses will

  • Successfully transition from entry-level to a competent, professional nurse.
  • Display increased clinical confidence.
  • Develop clinical leadership and collaborative practice skills in the interprofessional healthcare environment. 
  • Be well-positioned to begin a professional nursing career.
  • Graduate from a program that provides a pathway for potential permanent VA employment (optional).
  • Graduate from a program that is tailored to meet the needs of Residents and Stakeholders throughout the transition to professional practice.

Program overview

This VA sponsored program is affiliated with South Dakota State University and other community partners and provides clinical and academic experiences for new graduates to bridge the gap from baccalaureate education to becoming a professional nurse.  The program will facilitate professional role transition, integration and socializations of safe care delivery, advancement in critical thinking, professional development and a learning environment for developing evidence-based clinical care.

The program curriculum is comprised of a comprehensive, competency-based, 80% experiential, 20% didactic, and 100% protected, veteran-centric training experience in which didactic and experiential learning experiences build upon each other.

Experiential Rotations: Trainees will engage in direct patient care experiences in a variety of settings, including telehealth and home health care, in the various Integrated Clinical Communities including, but not limited to, Mental Health, Surgery, Specialty Medicine, Primary Care, and Rehabilitation and Extended Care. Special emphasis will be given to unique Veteran specific clinics like military sexual trauma clinic, poly-trauma clinic, suicide prevention, and integrative health. Experiential rotations will also include, clinical simulation experiences, and non-clinical experiences (team building, committee participation, leadership).

Didactics: Trainees will engage in didactics that develop their knowledge and skills within the five domains of competence specified by CCNE with a military and Veteran-centric emphasis.  These didactic sessions will be comprised of lectures, flipped classrooms, journal club discussions, simulation (pre-work, debriefing, and reflection), interactive learning sessions with digital technology and discussion of training experiences in clinical rotations and how they relate to military and Veteran focused care.

Didactic topics will include: Quality and Safety, Patient and Family Centered Care, Management of Patient Care Delivery, Information and Technology, Performance Improvement and Evidence Based Practice, Ethics, Stress Management, High Reliability Organizations. 

Scholarly Activity: Trainees will also engage in scholarly activity by completing a quality enhancement and/or system redesign project within their 12-month residency.  Trainees will work with Health Science Librarians who specialize in Evidence Based Research, academic faculty, and SFVA Evidence Based Practice Committee and Research Committee, as needed, to design and implement their project. This Evidence Based Project will be outcome driven (improve local care and practice) and veteran centric.

Interprofessional Education: Trainees will engage in an interdisciplinary team with other health professions trainees rotating at the Sioux Falls VA. The Sioux Falls VA trains between 150 and 300 trainees in more than 24 different disciplines throughout the year. 

Team building: Trainees will be introduced to team building exercises and other fun exercise to build community and collaboration.

Committee Participation: Trainees will participate in various facility committees and workgroups to include but not limited to Evidence Based Practice Committee, Ethics Committee, Nursing Senate Committee, and the Root Cause Analysis Workgroup.  Trainee time spent participating on these committees and workgroups will give them an opportunity to collaborate with other health professionals and help them understand the importance of the interprofessional team when making decisions that affect veteran healthcare.

Leadership: Trainees will spend time with nursing leadership throughout the facility.  Working with different levels of nursing management will give the trainee an opportunity to experience the leadership structure of each department, clinic and unit and will help them to understand the role nursing management plays in the healthcare organization.

Other skill building: Trainees will attend skill based and professional development classes at our facility which may include classes on High Reliability, Whole Health, Basic Dysrhythmia, Teach, and Motivational Interviewing, just to name a few. 

Below please find a table which outlines the differences between the VA PBRNR program and the VA Transition to Practice (TTP) Program.

PBRNR Program TTP Program Employment considerations No commitment for continued employment after program completion Hired as a permanent employee Assignment Rotates on many units and clinics Assigned to a specific unit Didactics 20%: on average 1 day a week of didactics (8 hours in a 40-hour work week) 1 shift a month of didactics and simulation Clinical experiential 80%: on average 4 days a week of clinical rotations (32 hours in a 40-hour work week) 0 FTEE for months 1-3, 0.5 FTEE for months 4-6, 0.8 FTEE for months 7-9, and 0.9 FTEE for months 10-12


  • Health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Annual leave (vacation)
  • Sick leave (days off for illness/medical appointments/family care)
  • Paid federal holidays
  • During residency, residents may be eligible for student loan forbearance or deferment.  Eligibility is determined on an individual basis by the loan holding company; therefore, residents are responsible for contacting their lender to determine eligibility.
  • After PBRNR program completion, residents will be eligible to apply for positions that qualify for the Education Debt Reduction Program (EDRP) which may be used to pay down existing student loans.

Applicant qualifications

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • New graduate (defined as less than 1-yr post-graduation) of a CCNE or NLNAC accredited BSN or MSN (entry level) program, applying for a first RN role.
  • Minimum grade point average: 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Current, unrestricted, active RN license before the start of the program.
  • Must pass pre-employment clearances, i.e physical, background check, fingerprinting, etc.
  • Commit to completing the 1-year RN Residency program.

Application requirements

  • Resume and cover letter
  • A one-page narrative describing why you are interested in PBRNR in the VA Health Care System and your future goals
  • Unofficial Transcripts are accepted at the time of application. Official transcripts are required before program start date.
  • Two letters of support: (1) Dean and (1) Faculty. All letters of support must be on official college or business letterhead.
  • Additional information and timeline
    • Applications should be submitted at the beginning of the final semester in nursing school
    • Program Begins: Mid - September and Mid - March

How to apply

Completed applications and any questions should be directed to:

Nicole Holmberg, DNP, RN
PBRNR Director

Anna Atteberry-Gustafson, MSN, RN
Nurse Recruiter