Evaluation of a Leadership Focused Graduate Nurse Development Program

April L McGrath, Salve Regina University


Introduction: Nurses are leaving the profession in their first years of nursing, contributing to a global staffing crisis. The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes the impact of this crisis and refers to it as “unsustainable" (ANA, 2021). Opportunity exists to enhance first-year experience and reverse the trend of nurses vacating the profession within their first years. Purpose: To determine whether a graduate nurse (GN) development residency program focused on leadership and professional growth improves GN experience, confidence, and retention compared with a more traditional skill-based GN program". Methods: A select cohort of GNs was asked to participate in the evaluation of the residency program by completing the Casey-Fink Graduate Nurse Experience Survey (2006) after approximately three months in their new role, and again at approximately the 12-month mark. Results were compared in aggregate. Participants attended residency classes, developed evidence-based project proposals, participated in peer discussion groups, and met 1:1 with dedicated educator mentors throughout their first year. Retention rates for the sample GN cohort were compared with retention rates of cohorts from prior years. Results: Survey results changed very little between three and 12 months. Overall role confidence scores decreased overtime. Retention increased from 44.4% for the 2021 August GN cohort to 92.3% for the August 2022 sample cohort. Conclusion: First-year retention is improved with a leadership-focused GN residency program, though self-evaluated confidence remains consistent. Further research is needed to ascertain whether performance reflects stagnant confidence levels, and impact on two-to-three-year retention rates.

Subject Area

Nursing|Health education|Health sciences

Recommended Citation

McGrath, April L, "Evaluation of a Leadership Focused Graduate Nurse Development Program" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI30687359.

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