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The University of Wisconsin Health (UW Health) recently announced it will be expanding its nurse residency program due to a state and national shortage of nurses. UW Health will increase its recruiting efforts to cope with the rising demand.

UW Health’s nurse residency program takes one year to complete and is comprised of groups of 20-40 nurse residents who have graduated from an accredited nursing program. Residents are used to fill vacant spots left by retired nurses as well as to fill new positions.

Program Manager Kim McPhee tells, “We’ve really tried to be proactive, so that we don’t feel the shortages as much as some other sites have felt…Before we had this nurse residency program, we were experiencing what everyone experienced around the country, where up to 60 percent of new graduate nurses left the profession in the first year. That’s a huge concern.”

The UW Health nurse residency program is one of 29 programs recognized by the Certified Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The residency program has hired over 2,000 nurses in the past 13 years, accounting for two-thirds of the current UW Health staff.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for registered nurses will increase 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, from 2.9 million registered nurses in the workforce to 3.4 million nurses. They also project that 203,700 registered nurses will be needed annually to carry out new positions and replace retiring ones.

The UW Health nurse residency program currently holds 3,152 nurses and added 572 nurses in 2019. The most recent class of resident nurses graduated in February.

To learn more about UW Health’s announcement to expand its nurse residency program to meet increased demand in the state and nationwide, visit here.

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