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Nurse Residency FAQ

Answers to common questions about Erlanger’s Nurse Residency Program

Why is a nurse residency program important to me as nursing graduate or new nurse?

As turnover rates in nursing attest, the transition from nurse graduate to clinical practice is difficult. There are many reasons for this. Today’s nurses must function at a very high-level – managing sophisticated technologies, keeping up with new medical advances and handling more rapid patient turnarounds. Our program offers support and training to help you succeed through these challenges. Studies show the value of Nurse Residency Programs:

  • Nurses have a 41% improvement in competency testing after completing a one-year NRP – as well as a marked improvement in collaboration, leadership skills, and communication among residents. (Herdrich & Lindsay, 2006).
  • Nurse graduates feel professionally empowered through the program’s learning experiences – working with increased confidence, competence and mastery among nurse residents. (AACN/UHC NRP, Feb. 2005)

Who is eligible for Erlanger’s Nurse Residency Program?

Our program is open to new graduates and RNs with less than one year of experience.

When & how do I apply?

Erlanger offers three Nurse Residency cohorts each year – starting in January, June and September. Apply for the career track of your choice by completing the job application on Erlanger's Careers Webpage.

What’s the benefit of having career tracks?

Career tracks allow you to focus on areas of care that match your interests and career goals. They also let you experience different areas before making a commitment to a home area to start your career. If you’re new to Erlanger, our career tracks can give you valuable exposure to the health system’s various service lines.

What critical care tracks does the program offer?

Erlanger offers nurse residency career tracks in the following specialties:

  • Adult Critical Care: Medical, Trauma, Surgical, Neurology, Cardiology, and Emergency
  • Adult Acute Care Nursing: Cardiac, Oncology, Trauma, Neurology, General Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopaedic, and Renal
  • Surgical Services: Perioperative Nursing
  • Pediatrics: Emergency, Neonatal Intensive Care, Pediatric Intensive Care, Surgery, and Acute Care

Can I begin the residency program prior to my Tennessee RN licensure?

Yes, but you’ll need to meet our deadline for obtaining your TN license once in the program. Here are the licensure deadlines based on the time you graduate.

  • Spring graduates must obtain Tennessee RN License be Oct. 1
  • Summer graduates must obtain Tennessee RN license by Jan. 1
  • Fall/winter graduates must obtain Tennessee RN license by May 1

How often do you offer the Nurse Residency Program?

Erlanger offers three cohorts every year – each beginning in January, June and September. Our application/interview window is usually three months prior to the start of each cohort. For example, the group starting in January will consist primarily of December graduates. They will apply and interview in the fall prior to graduation.

What do I do if I’m selected for an interview and how long will the interview last?

All candidates selected for an interview are required to interview in-person with Erlanger’s selection team at our Human Resources office in Chattanooga (link to map). This will be at your own expense. The interview will last about 30 minutes.

What support does Erlanger offer me as a new employee?

For many of our nurse residents, this position isn’t just the first time working in a hospital, it’s also their first real-world job after college. That’s why our program includes orientation classes to help you thrive as a new employee. This includes information on how to read your pay stub, requesting time off, taking full advantage of your employee benefits package, understanding hospital policies and more.

Will I have time to get to know other new nurses?

Through classes, monthly huddles, and group learning in the clinical setting, our nurse residency program offers ample opportunities to interact with your peers and other professionals. Many of our nurse residents report that time spent with other new grads is one of the best parts of the program. Having this social network gives you an important outlet to decompress and share stories after your day at work.

What is the schedule for each cohort?

Each cohort includes six weeks of classroom training and clinical rotations before being “matched” to a home unit. Departmental orientation begins in the seventh week and continues until you are able to practice independently. You’ll also receive ongoing support through monthly seminars (“huddles”) throughout your first year of employment.

Why Chattanooga?

With its awe-inspiring natural beauty, vibrant downtown, and affordable cost of living – Chattanooga has become one of the top-rated “live-work-play” mid-sized cities for college graduates. In fact, Chattanooga was voted Outside Magazine’s Best Town in 2015. (Outside Magazine’s Best Town, 2015.)