Tim and Virginia Baldwin of Sacramento were beaming with pride.
Their 23-year-old daughter, Danielle Baldwin, was among the first group of Kaiser Permanente Northern California nurses to graduate a yearlong residency program for new registered nurses. Baldwin received her certificate in Oakland with 87 other new nurses and will continue her career at the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center.
“She worked extremely hard for this, and we are very proud of her,” said Tim Baldwin, as he waited for the ceremony to begin. “It has been a long road for her, and she has very much appreciated what she learned during the last year.”
A model for others
The graduates are the first to complete the new program, which was designed to supply newly licensed nurses to medical centers as they transition to practice during an acute nationwide labor shortage. The paid residency is offered at all 21 Kaiser Permanente Northern California medical centers and is open to registered nurses with less than 6 months experience. The residents are required to participate in a variety of professional development and clinical education experiences during the residency.
Benson Yeung, DNP, RN, and regional director of Practice Excellence and Clinical Education and Effectiveness, said up to 350 newly trained nurses will graduate the program this year. Previously Kaiser Permanente only hired nurses with at least 1 to 2 years of experience.
“We’re hoping this new program will serve as a model for other Kaiser Permanente regions to duplicate,” said Yeung.
Rebecca Valencia, 24, is part of the first graduating cohort of nurse residents. She received her training at the Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center, working with leukemia and lymphoma patients, where she will continue her career.
“Most of our patients spend at least 30 days in that department, so you get to know your patients really well, and that’s what I like about it,” said Valencia. “You get to make deep connections with them.”
Keynote speaker Deloras Jones, Kaiser Permanente’s first chief nurse executive who retired in 2000, acknowledged the residents’ sacrifices during a very tough time.
“You balanced school, perhaps work with your families’ needs, you cared for patients in your first job as hospitals were faced with surges of critically ill patients, and you worried about unknowingly bringing COVID-19 home to your families,” said Jones. “You have been baptized by fire.”
The ceremony in May included a presentation by Baldwin and her colleagues on new ideas for treating delirium in hospitals as well as comments by Kaiser Permanente Northern California leaders Carrie Owen Plietz, FACHE, regional president; Ann Williamson, PhD, RN, chief nurse executive and vice president of Clinical Integration; and Stephanie Woods, MSN, RN, executive director of Practice Excellence and Care Delivery Innovation.
“I so appreciate each and every one of you for choosing to start your nursing careers at Kaiser Permanente,” said Owen Plietz. “As I visit the 21 hospitals in Northern California, I continue to hear an immense amount of gratitude for all of you who eagerly jumped in to care for our patients. Your energy and passion are contagious.”
Williamson told the nurse residents they bring a breath of fresh air and “truly make us a better organization.”
“Today is all about you,” Williamson said. “I want to let you know how amazingly honored and proud we are.”
See an inspirational video about the history of Kaiser Permanente nursing.