Versant Alumni Reflect on Their Experiences

Premier Nursing News

By Sylvain “Syl” Trepanier, DNP, RN, CENP, vice president & system chief nursing officer

Our nursing practice at Premier Health encompasses tenured nurses and new graduate registered nurses (NGRNs). The entire nation is challenged in finding experienced nurses and everyone must embrace NGRNs. We now have more than 300 NGRNs who have enrolled in Premier Health/Versant’s residency program since 2015. These NGRNs came to us from 61 schools and 12 states. I could argue that this program has had a positive economic impact in our region. To date, many of our alumni are performing as team leaders, preceptors, and active members of our shared leadership councils. I recently had the pleasure of spending time with three of them to better understand why they chose nursing as a profession, why they did so at Premier Health, and how the residency has influenced their career thus far.

On October 13, Isaiah Carson, Heather Daugherty, and Brandon Farler joined me for breakfast at system support. When asked why they opted for nursing as a profession, Heather said, “When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be a baby doctor.” She was greatly influenced by her mom, a licensed practical nurse for many years. In fact, Heather’s first career was as an LPN and she decided to pursue a degree and become a registered nurse. She explained that this additional education “magnified” her critical thinking skills.

When asked why they chose Premier Health as an employer, all of them shared that the advent of a nursing residency program for NGRNs positively influenced their decision. Furthermore, they told me that Premier Health represented stability and a positive community image – something they felt it was important to be a part of. All of them conducted some or all of their clinicals within Premier Health organizations. They shared with me that they felt supported by their local leadership team. I asked if they could tell me more about that statement. Brandon shared that in difficult times he can always count on his immediate supervisor and his CNO to be there for him. He acknowledged the continued presence of his leadership team. He added, “Look who we are having breakfast with. Perhaps not everyone knows the system CNO but the fact that I can put a name to a face means a lot to me.” Lastly, Isaiah shared that the residency allowed him to be successful in directly transitioning into independent practice in his preferred area: the emergency department. He strongly feels that the evidence-based approach used by our residency offered him an opportunity that nobody else can offer in Southwest Ohio. They all vouched for the power of the residency program, and refer to themselves as the “golden children.”

Isaiah, Heather, and Brandon are three examples of many NGRNs who have chosen to practice at Premier Health. I wish to thank them for the time they took to spend with me. As a leader, I am continuously looking for best practices and ways to better ourselves. I have known for a long time now that the only safe and efficient way to onboard NGRNs is by offering an evidence-based residency program like the Versant program. That said, this was not an easy business decision to make. Yes, this program requires a significant investment on the part of Premier Health. The interview with these three registered nurses further solidified for me the significant impact of our residency program. I am pleased to see the benefit of our investment and, equally important, the difference it makes in the lives of nurses.

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