New program will train nurses for work outside hospitals

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A new program at Rutgers will train nurses for work outside of hospitals.
A new program at Rutgers will train nurses for work outside of hospitals.

The Rutgers School of Nursing will train nurses to work in continuing care retirement communities and other nonhospital settings through a new residency program made possible by a $4.7 million grant from the nonprofit Helene Fuld Health Trust, the school announced Monday.

“A great deal of care is occurring out of the hospital, and the need for qualified, competent and caring nurses for these settings is growing,” said William Holzemer, dean of the New Jersey institution.

The Rutgers program will place new bachelor's degree graduates for two semesters in settings such as CCRCs, skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities, homes, wellness centers and primary care offices. The nursing school believes it is the first such program in the country.

“Typically, academic nursing education has not assumed this responsibility, as most graduates in the past tended to enter the hospital workforce,” Holzemer said.

The program's first residents are expected to begin their assignments in fall 2017. In the fourth and final year of their nursing education, students will be assigned to work with coaches who can help them transition from the classroom to the workforce. The school then will try to match individual strengths and career goals with the needs of the facilities where the graduates will work.

The school also is revising its undergraduate curricula to increase the focus on population health and care provided outside of the hospital, Holzemer said.

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