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Who are the key stakeholders in evaluating my organization’s nurse residency program?

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The ultimate value of your nurse residency program (NRP) will be demonstrated in what is referred to as return on expectations (ROE) (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2010). ROE reflects the input of the various stakeholders in an NRP, and if you are a typical organization, you will have three key stakeholders that are invested in the successful transition of the new graduate nurses in your facility. They are:

  • The new graduates: They are the recipients of the NRP and the reason it exists. As such, they will gain more from it if they enjoy the presentations and take meaningful content away that increases their bedside care and competency.
  • The nursing unit managers: They are the ones who ultimately benefit the most from an NRP because they are responsible and accountable for high quality care and patient satisfaction on their unit. The more competent and prepared a new graduate is for professional practice, the better patient outcomes will result. Unit nurse managers can be an NRP’s greatest proponents or harshest critics.
  • The executive team: This group in the C-suite keeps the NRP engine running and often is the vision (and funding) behind it. Because they grasp the overall financial picture for the organization, they have the expectation that an NRP is truly worthwhile, contributes to organizational goals and values, and demonstrates a positive return on investment (ROI), as discussed in Chapter 2.

As you may begin to see, even though these three groups of stakeholders are all invested in the NRP and want it to be successful, each of them have different expectations of what “successful” means. Your NRP will not have ultimate value unless it meets all three groups’ expectations. Imagine how unsuccessful an NRP would be if it had an excellent ROI (i.e., new graduate retention) and the new nurses really enjoyed it, but it never made a difference in patient outcomes, quality care, or satisfaction?

-  Jim Hansen, MSN, RN-BC

(July 2012)