Norman Regional Health System’s one-of-a-kind nurse residency program is making it easier for nurses to earn their BSN while still at work.

Norman Regional Health System is committed to growing its new nurses.
And now those nurses can earn their BSN without ever leaving work.
The Health system is accepting applications for its next Nurse Residency Program cohort.
Norman Regional started the program with its first cohort in August 2017, with a group of 24 resident nurses from various areas of the hospital. Another cohort began in April.
Norman Regional is accepting applications through July for the third cohort to begin in August. A fourth cohort will start in late fall.
The Nurse Residency Program is a one-year program that is designed for new registered nurses (RNs) that have graduated from nursing school. It is a Vizient/AACN program meant to help transition the nurses from school to practice.
The mission of the program is, “To facilitate and support the graduate nurse in acquisition and assimilation of knowledge, skills and research during the transition from novice to competent, confident nursing professional.” The vision of the program is, “To produce the next generation of nursing leaders empowered and focused on the delivery of safe patient care.”
Norman Regional is the first hospital system in Oklahoma to offer the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency curriculum. The health system decided to join the Vizient/AACN™ Nurse Residency Program because it’s an opportunity to make a difference in new nursing careers, said Cassie Chaffin, BSN, RN-CCRN-K, nurse residency coordinator.
Vizient has a national retention rate of 95 percent for first-year nurses, compared to the national average of only 82 percent.
“We’re looking at making sure they’re grounded and feel supported as a professional nurse,” Chaffin said.
Residents of the program are hired by Norman Regional Health System as full-functioning nurses, but they meet with other residents once a month for a four-hour seminar with different topics that are meant to grow them as professional nurses.
There are no limitations on where nurse residents must work within the health system.
Chaffin said that hospitals have begun offering Nurse Residency Programs because the Institute of Medicine made it a Healthy People 2020 goal for hospitals to start offering some type of transition to practice for nurses the way they do for physicians.
“I think it helps the nurses to start thinking wider—not just ‘how is this affecting me or this patient at this particular moment,’ but ‘if I provide this intervention, what is the long-term outcome?’ It helps these nurses with overall critical thinking through patient care. It also has helped them because it gives them a time to come together and discuss, debrief and find support for anything they may be going through on the floor,” Chaffin said.
Danielle Winkle, BSNRN, is an Emergency Department nurse at Norman Regional and a resident of Norman Regional’s first Nurse Residency cohort. She moved here in July from Nebraska after graduating from Clarkson College in April of 2017.
Winkle said things have been going great at Norman Regional and how she has her “dream job.”
“The Nurse Residency Program has given me all-around base knowledge of nursing. We’re always learning something new. It’s helped me tremendously,” Winkle said.
“I’m excited every time I go into work or go into the monthly meeting. I’m excited to absorb any knowledge I can to make me a better nurse.”
The Health System has joined with Kramer School of Nursing at Oklahoma City University to begin offering reduced tuition BSN classes on site.
For questions or interest in the Nurse Residency Program, contact Chaffin at 405-307-3160 or or Julia Burleson, BSN, RN, CHCR, professional healthcare recruiter, at 405-307-1554 or