Advancement Opportunities

New Graduate Program

The new graduate program is a comprehensive, year-long orientation, which is divided into three critical elements.

A two-week program familiarizes the new graduates with the hospital and its departments. The program involves:

  • Orienting graduates to the unit with their preceptor
  • Visiting various departments throughout the hospital, such as the Pharmacy, Imaging, Cancer Care and Infusion Services and Hospice of St. Mary's
  • Lectures given by physicians and nurses related to specialty
  • Critical-thinking exercises
  • Luncheon with mentor, preceptor and department leaders
  • A two-to-four month (depending on the specialty) one-to-one clinical preceptorship to apply skills and develop nursing competencies as they relate to their specific specialties
  • Upon completion of the formal clinical preceptorship, orientation continues for nine months under the guidance of the preceptor and mentor; additional support will be available as the new graduates continue to develop skills in the nursing process

Preceptor Program

When orienting to the department, a preceptor provides critical information and review of skills to the new nurse. This year-long program includes:

  • A one-to-one partnership with an experienced nurse
  • Establishing partnership goals
  • Orienting to the clinical setting at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital
  • Review of policies and procedures for providing patient care
  • Conferences to review the progression of the orientation

Clinical Advancement Program

To support nurses in their career growth, MedStar Health offers a Clinical Advancement Program (CAP). Nursing leadership is committed to quality care, nursing excellence, improved patient outcomes, and optimal patient experience. With these goals in mind, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital provides an environment of practice in which nurses can progress professionally. The CAP offers nurses a pathway for career advancement without needing to leave clinical nursing practice. It also provides nurses the opportunity to progress along a continuum of competency and expertise defined into stages, based on Benner’s theoretical framework of novice to expert.

New Registered Nurse Graduate Internship

This internship provides new graduates with the support, knowledge and skills necessary to successfully transition from student to professional nursing practice. Specially trained preceptors provide direction and support.

Weeks 1-2

  • Comprehensive overview of hospital policies, procedures and how to integrate as a new hospital associate
  • Review of pertinent clinical topics
  • Opportunity to meet with other departments and key physicians

Weeks 3-12

  • Bi-weekly support groups conducted by a RN II and clinical resource nurse
  • Structured preceptorship assuming gradual and progressive responsibility for patient care

Weeks 13-26

  • Bi-weekly support groups
  • Continued feedback and regular meetings with preceptor

Mentor Program

During the first year as a nurse, there are many new and challenging learning experiences. MedStar St. Mary's Hospital pairs new nurses with a mentor for additional support. The mentor selected has a strong healthcare career concept that integrates education and work values. The side-by-side relationship allows the new nurse to work and identify with a competent role model who is involved on a daily basis in decisions, processes and protocols of patient and unit management.

Nurse Residency Program

The New to Practice (NTP) Nurse Residency Program has been offered by Vizient, formerly known as the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for over a decade. The evidence-based program is designed to enhance retention of NTP nurses and expedite their transition to competent, professional nurses.

In 2019, MedStar St. Mary's Hospital conducted three cohorts with a total of 48 NTP nurses. These individuals met monthly in didactic seminars to develop effective decision-making skills and clinical nursing leadership roles, strengthen their commitment to the nursing profession, formulate individual career plans, and incorporate research-based evidence into their practice.

The NTP Nurse Residency Program incorporates collaboration from multiple disciplines, leaders, and other peers in order to make it a success. As new cohorts continue to form throughout the year, our hospital will continue to support and nurture these NTP nurses to become clinically sound, competent, empowered, and committed MedStar nurses.