ON-THE-JOB TRAINING: Amanda St. George, left, shadows nurse Todd Kirschhofer, pictured above, at Thundermist Health Center. Also pictured are Valerie Furr and her mother, Karen Izzo.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
By Patricia Daddona PBN Staff Writer
Of the 17 unemployed and underemployed nurses participating in the “Passport to Practice” nurse residency program, 13 landed jobs – six full time, five part time and two per diem, months before the end of the program’s first year.
The jobs included seven in acute care and six in community care, said Alaina Johnson, grant manager for the program and executive director of Stepping Up, a Rhode Island workforce-development program.
Running from October 2013 through June, the residency program involves 11 different hospitals and clinics. Funded with $600,000 from a host of donors, the bulk of support came from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the R.I. Governor’s Workforce Board, focusing respectively on nursing education and employment.
Though the first year hasn’t ended yet, program leaders are already gearing up for a second year that will begin in the fall. And they are focusing on how to continue beyond 2015, when remaining funding is expected to run out.
Amanda St. George of Barrington is one of the 17 who obtained per diem work at the West Warwick site of the Thundermist Health Center, which also has centers in Woonsocket and South Kingstown.
Armed with an associate degree from the Community College of Rhode Island, St. George had a clinical rotation in acute care at Kent Hospital during the early part of the program. But as the program wound down, with guidance from Project Coordinator Randi Belhumeur, she directed her attention to Thundermist, because of her natural interest in community care.
“Regardless of having gotten this position, my confidence is much higher than it was before I started the residency,” said St. George. “Besides the experience in the clinical portion of things, in our didactic sessions on Fridays we got a lot of good training and professional development.”
Deborah Drew, Thundermist’s West Warwick site director of nursing, said two other nurses besides St. George did clinical rotations at the various centers. At the West Warwick site, the involvement proved beneficial to the center as well as residents, she said.