Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Mary T. Verklan


New graduate nurses (NGNs) at bedside are faced with numerous challenges, which prompt them to leave jobs in their first year. The transition from being a student to competent nurse requires a NGN to have the necessary skills and experience. Subsequently, hospitals continue to face shortages of staff because of high turnover and low retention levels. Nonetheless, evidence from reviewed literature has indicated that the use of residency programs can increase NGNs' stay at bedside, improve retention, reduce costs of operations, and return employees' turnover. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to identify the likelihood of NGNs remaining at bedside after participating in a 52 week NGN residency program in the critical care units at Palmetto Health hospital. When a hospital recruits and retains NGNs at the bedside, the quality of life among patients is improved. Benner's theory of novice to expert was utilized to understand professional growth of nurses. Data were collected from the human resource department of the 18 nurses who initially participated in the residency program to compare retention rates before and after its implementation. The project initiative was based on a quantitative non-experimental comparison design. Based on the evidence from the human resource department, there was a 14% improvement in nurse retention 3 months after the implementation of the NGN residency program. A statewide adoption of NGN residency programs was recommended to help improve retention and enhance NGNs' professional improvement and quality of care. The implementation of NGN residency program also demonstrated implications for social change through increasing retention, building nurse competency, and enhancing quality of care delivered.