UVM Medical Center

UVM Medical Center Starts Residency Program to Improve Transition for New Nurses

Learn about the new nursing residency program at the UVM Medical Center.

Nursing Residency

The University of Vermont Medical Center has begun a nurse residency program designed to ease the transition of newly graduated nurses from the classroom to clinical practice.  Research indicates programs like this promote quality and safety of care, and reduce turnover rates for first-year nurses. 

The one-year experience is based on the Vizient and American Association of Colleges of Nursing (Vizient/AACN) Nurse Residency Program™, and is open to all graduating nurses hired by UVM Medical Center with licensing from an accredited school.

“Bringing the Vizient Nurse Residency to UVM Medical Center is an important part of our strategic plan for nursing,” said Kate Fitzpatrick RN, chief nursing officer. “This program assures we’ll provide a welcoming, evidence-based experience for those transitioning to the profession. We know that when nurse leaders and educators engage with and support new graduates, it increases satisfaction and retention,” she added.

“Nursing is a tough profession, so it helps to share experiences with other new nurses working on other units and in other specialties,” said Kate Flynn, RN, a program participant.  “It gives me a sense of comradery.”
The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ has provided healthcare organizations with a transition-to-practice program for new graduate nurses since 2002, and is recognized by the Institute of Medicine as a model program. 

The curriculum includes sections on leadership, critical decision-making, quality outcomes and incorporating research-based standards into daily patient care. All class members are required to complete an evidence-based practice project during their residency. 

“I love research. It feeds my curiosity and challenges me in a different way than my day-to-day nursing practice,” said Flynn.

“Unlike the training for physicians, residency programs are not a normal part of the nursing education curriculum,” said Jayne Willingham, senior director of Vizient’s Nursing Leadership. “We are pleased that UVM Medical Center has made the commitment to support its nurses in their professional development through a nurse residency program.”

“Nursing has been a wonderful profession for me and I want to support and help develop newly graduated nurses so they can enjoy long and fulfilling careers,” said Joanne Barton, MSN, nurse residency coordinator for the UVM Medical Center. “I see newly graduated nurses as one of our greatest resources, and we need to care for them, protect them and nurture them,” she explained.

“I’m excited to participate in the nurse residency program, and hope to continue taking advantage of educational opportunities like this,” said Flynn.  “It’s a way to continually set goals and challenge myself, which will help me provide the best possible care to my patients.”

There are 23 nurses in the first class of residents.  Eventually there will be 75-90 graduates every year.

About The University of Vermont Medical Center

The University of Vermont Medical Center  is a 447-bed tertiary care regional referral center providing advanced care to approximately one million residents in Vermont and northern New York.  Together with our partners at the UVM Larner College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, we are Vermont’s academic medical center.  The University of Vermont Medical Center also serves as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties. 


The University of Vermont Medical Center is a member of The University of Vermont Health Network, an integrated system established to deliver high-quality academic medicine to every community we serve.  For more information visit www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenter or visit our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog sites at www.UVMHealth.org/MedCenterSocialMedia.

About The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ 

The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ operates at more than 350 healthcare organizations. Since its establishment in 2002, more than 72,000 new graduate nurses have participated in the program. Notably, The Institute of Medicine recently published The Future of Nursing report identifying actionable measures that will transform the nursing profession –specifically highlighting the importance of nurse residency programs for nurses entering the transition-to-practice. To-date, the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program has reduced turnover rates among first-year nurses achieving an average retention rate of 95%, exceeding the national average of 75%. For more information, visit The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™.