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Center for Practice & Education

Roger Williams Medical Center is investing in the future of our nurses. A national shortage of nursing staff and a decline in nursing school enrollment has created serious challenges for the profession. In order to help, we have created the Roger Williams Nursing Center for Practice and Education. The Center is designed to accomplish two goals:

  1. create a learning environment that fosters and recognizes growth and development of staff and
  2. advance the clinical practice of nursing care of patients and their families.

Helping advance nursing practice, the Center provides clinical interest groups, patient education, and initiatives like the Visiting Scholar Program that result in nursing excellence. The Center also provides a number of internal and external programs designed to support professional development.

On our own hospital campus, the following initiatives are helping educate nurses at all levels of experience. A continuum of learning provides opportunities for student nurses, novice nurses, and experienced nurses to follow a pathway through our internship, specialized programs and residencies.

Student Nurse Internships

This program gives student nurses the opportunity to work side-by-side with experienced nurses, helping prepare them for life after graduation. Student nurses who have completed a minimum of 2 clinical rotations are considered for the program. During the academic year and summer break they are assigned with expert nurse preceptors based upon individual interest and strengths. After completing this program, the student intern may transition into the Novice Nurse Program.

Novice Nurse Program

Established in 2000, this program provides clinical and educational support for recent nursing school graduates. Each participant works for 6 weeks with an individual nurse educator, followed by 4 to 8 weeks with a nurse preceptor dedicated to teaching, advising and guiding novice nurses. In addition to receiving one-on-one instruction, novice nurses also spend time in the classroom, where clinical education and hands-on experience come together. Offering a wide range of resources, this program is ideal for nurses just starting their career. Our commitment to excellence in professional nursing begins with a commitment to every novice nurse - for a successful transition from school to the bedside.

Nurse Preceptor Program

All nurses new to Roger Williams, novice or experienced, begin their employment partnered with an experienced preceptor. Selected by the Clinical Nurse Manager, preceptors make a difference in the learning curve of a new team member, and ultimately contribute to the quality of care delivered to patients on their unit. Our preceptors are nurses who recognize the value of this special role.

Competency-Based Orientation

Each new nurse is treated as an adult learner, with unique personal strengths and needs in the new working environment. An individualized orientation plan is created based on input from the Clinical Nurse Manager, Clinical Educator, preceptor and the new employee. Periodic assessment and evaluation ensure effective communication is maintained during the introductory period. The goal is to progressively build on knowledge as learning opportunities are introduced and new skills are mastered.

Nursing Residency Program

Medical- surgical nurses who are interested in transitioning to a specialty area, e.g. perioperative, critical care, oncology, or emergency, are offered a supportive environment for change. Our clinical educators develop an individualized educational plan for the specialty. Staff are mentored to ensure they will succeed in the new practice area.

Ongoing Education and Certification Programs

Our nursing staff is encouraged to focus on lifelong learning and professional growth and development. One of our recent special projects was a Professional Practice and Advancement Resource Fair. The nursing leadership team and invited representatives from local colleges of nursing provided staff with the opportunity to discuss a variety of formal education options, such as RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs. Reference materials were available for professional and specialty organization memberships, as well as information about our current CEU approved hospital education programs. In addition, everyone was invited to identify areas of interest for new Resource Nurse roles, and could request individual support or counseling through our internal mentoring network.


RWMC Model of Nursing Care