Fresenius Medical Care’s Nurse Residency Program: Transition to Nephrology Practice is a first-of-its-kind educational curriculum that readies nurses to find their niche in dialysis. The residency runs for 12 to 15 months and focuses on holistic training for new Pre-Licensed Nurses or Pre-Licensed Staff (PLN/PLS). This residency program allows nurses to gain hands-on education in dialysis and gain support from leadership and their peers.
Director of University Relations Hillary Mohindra updates us on the program’s progress since its launch in 2020, its goals for the future, and its success in expanding the pool of dialysis nurses at a time when staffing needs are critical.
We have welcomed approximately 740 total Pre-Licensed Nurses since we launched in January 2020. In 2022, we are targeting about 320 more Pre-Licensed Nurses or Pre-Licensed Staff. We recruit year-round, with our biggest cohorts following graduation dates in December and May. This program is the first of its kind for education in dialysis, and we hope to provide a smooth transition for any recently graduated nurse looking to learn the ropes in renal care.
Nephrology nursing is a unique profession, so it is important for our nurses to gain in-depth experience and feedback from peers within their cohort and through firsthand experience with nurse mentors in their local areas and leaders in their organization. Our program continues to evolve and expand its education scope from in-center therapies and inpatient services to offering the home therapy modality later this year.
We are already adding hundreds of nurses into the residency program each year, and our approach enables graduates to leave the program and enter the workforce with a strong basis of knowledge as well as support from mentors and colleagues.
Our goal is to provide holistic training in nephrology over a period of 12 to 15 months. Coupled with peer and mentor support, we believe this builds a solid foundation for nurses to succeed long term, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic made the need for dialysis and dialysis nurses more critical than ever. We’re also supplementing this program with a patient care technician and Manufacturing and Supply Chain campus recruiting strategy that launched in 2022. The aim is to address any future staffing shortages on the critical care team and supply and manufacturing teams.
The number of PLN/PLS we have hired annually continues to grow year over year. We hired 176 PLN/PLS in 2020, then 256 in 2021, and in 2022, we are targeting to onboard 320 or more hires.
In the very competitive market for new nurses, it is essential that Fresenius Kidney Care recruits and trains nurses with a bottom-up approach. This way, we reduce the need for travel nurses hired through outside staffing agencies while simultaneously expanding the pool of nurses who choose dialysis as their specialty.
This program is part of our larger commitment to growing the nephrology nursing profession. For example, we offer a tuition reimbursement program to help dialysis nurses advance their careers. Right now, about 600 employees are using this program to obtain a nursing degree. And as part of the tuition reimbursement program, regular full- and part-time employees have the option to reduce their work hours to 20 hours per week while maintaining healthcare and leave benefits as they study. We also fund a partnership with the American Nephrology Nurses Association, in which Fresenius Medical Care funds a membership program as well as scholarships to support education for nurses who are dedicated to caring for people living with chronic kidney disease.