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Transition into acute care nursing with UNLV program.

Transitioning into acute care can be challenging for registered nurses who do not have the required experience needed for open job opportunities. Currently in Nevada there are hundreds of open RN positions. However, many nurses who want to enter into the hospital setting find themselves not being able to meet the 2+ year experience requirement.

In response to the ongoing need for experienced nurses in Nevada, UNLV Continuing Education offers the Gap Training for RNs program. GAP-RN is a transition into acute care practice program for those who require experience to enter into the acute care setting. Whether you are newly graduated and still looking for your first RN position, an RN currently working in a non-acute care setting who seeks current skills and experiences to qualify for a job in acute care, or a returning-to-practice RN who needs precepted hours to complete an RN refresher program, this program might just be your entry point to transition.

The Gap Training for RNs program was initially geared toward new RN graduates to help better prepare them for professional practice. Studies show 40 percent of new grad nurses admit to making medication errors, 50 percent of new grads fail to recognize a life-threatening complication due to lack of experience, and educators and employers agree there is a practice gap particularly in the areas related to risk management. After completing two cohorts of the program, UNLV Continuing Education found there is also a major practice gap for RNs who accepted employment outside of acute care and later seek to return to a hospital setting. While these nurses may have many years of experience in another setting, it does not meet the two-year acute care experience commonly required by acute care hospitals. In addition, another practice gap was presented for those RNs who allowed their license to lapse for whatever reason and have to complete a refresher program and 120 hours of precepted clinical experience to have their license reinstated. In Nevada, refresher programs are backlogged and often times RNs find themselves completing the didactic portion online and then they must find a hospital to accept them for 120 hours of clinical preceptorship to meet the Nevada State Board of Nursing requirements.

So what is the Gap Training for RNs program and how can it help you? This eight-week program offers real-life experience within a structured transitional training program to enhance acute care skills, competence, and confidence, and decrease job stress. Nurse participants are assigned to an acute care unit at a Las Vegas area acute care facility where they will work as an RN under supervision from an experienced preceptor two shifts per week for a total of 120 hours. Scheduling is flexible and offers both day and evening shifts. Participants will be able to select between working with adults or children and will identify their preferred unit or interest. Nurses will also practice skills in a high-tech medical simulation lab and participate in online learning opportunities focused on quality and safety in professional practice. Participants will build their resume, make professional connections, and be guaranteed an interview with the hospital for a full time position upon successful completion of the program. The program also is approved for CEUs through the Nevada State Board of Nursing. Participants are not employees of the hospital and are therefore not compensated for their clinical hours.

Hospital partners who have participated in our program reported participants either significantly improved or showed outstanding improvement in the following areas: increased competence, technical skill competency, medication calculation and administration accuracy, managing stress levels, professional self-confidence, and inter-professional communication skills. Hospitals also reported that as a result of the participation in the program they anticipate increase in retention rates, decrease in recruitment costs, decrease in length of residency programs, and a decrease in transition costs.

This program is supported by Workforce Connections, Nevada State Board of Nursing, Nevada Nurses Association, Nevada Alliance for Nursing Excellence, and Nevada Organization for Nurse Leaders.

Full tuition for this program is supported through grant funding from Workforce Connections, for those who qualify. Minimum qualifications for the program include proof of Nevada residency and a Nevada RN license. Grant funding is available for 50 participants. Interested registered nurses who want to participate in this program should contact Jodi Gilliland, Program Coordinator, via email for an application at or by phone at 702-895-5099.

Any hospital wishing to participate by providing preceptorships should contract Program Coordinator Jodi Gilliland.
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Title Annotation:nevada action coalition
Publication:Nevada RNformation
Geographic Code:1U8NV
Date:Nov 1, 2015
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