Nurse residency programs are designed for cohorts of newly licensed nurses as they transition into clinical practice, honing critical thinking and decision-making skills before assuming the responsibilities of a professional nurse.
These programs are offered at few hospitals and can be highly competitive. For Brittany Cordeiro ’19, who just completed her residency at Boston Medical Center, the experience has been very valuable. She is one of just eight nursing school graduates selected from more than 1,000 applicants for the program.
“Boston Medical Center is the largest Level 1 trauma center in New England,” Cordeiro said. “We have to be on top of our game. You have people’s lives in your hands, and you can’t go to your instructor and ask her what to do. This program has really helped us.”
The residency program consists of four months of educational training followed by a 36-hour night position on a medical/surgical unit, where Cordeiro is now caring for a small number of patients. Eventually, she would like to become a certified nurse anesthetist.
“In class, we do simulations just like in nursing school to prepare us for real work,” Cordeiro said. “We learn to work as a team with other professionals.”
Simulation-based learning uses relevant realistic scenarios to provide new nurses opportunities to manage clinical situations and utilize expert feedback on their performance to improve their skills and knowledge. This process increases the new nurses’ confidence in using equipment and helps them become more comfortable in their patient care role.
“This gave us an extra opportunity to get adjusted to the nursing world. We have more time to interact with patients and get to know them,” said Cordeiro. “It really does help with patient care. Taking a few minutes to listen and talk to your patients really makes a difference in their day.”
Inspired by her mom to become a nurse
Cordeiro decided to become a nurse during her junior year of high school and now couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Her mother is also a nurse and talked to her about how rewarding it is to help others. “I could see in her eyes how much she loves what she does,” Cordeiro said of her mom. “She told me I had the personality for nursing and to go for it. She ended up being right.
“I feel like I can connect so well with people,” Cordeiro added. “I love to help people, and in nursing I am able to show my compassion.”
Strong undergraduate training from nursing faculty
Cordeiro said her training at the College of Nursing & Health Sciences at UMass Dartmouth was very strong. “Most of the instructors were amazing in helping me pursue my dream. They were helpful outside of class. During senior year, they knew we were getting very close to the end and went out of their way to give us extra help.
“My exams in nursing school were almost harder than the NCLEX, so I felt comfortable when I took the exam. Our class had a 95% pass rate and our instructors really prepared us to think outside the box and use our critical thinking skills to pass the NCLEX,” Cordeiro said.
“Our class worked well together as a team especially in SimLab,” she added. “We always had a good clinical group no matter who was in the class.”
Cordeiro credits Assistant Professor Jennifer Viveiros and Lecturer Teri Reynolds for being especially helpful. “Brittany was a great student, hard-working and always came in for help,” said Reynolds. “This made the difference. She worked hard to achieve her goals.”