Nursing Education and Professional Growth

Education & Professional Growth

Nursing FAQs Work at Rush
Rush University Medical Center

As an academic medical center, Rush University Medical Center offers nursing staff the opportunity to pursue advanced degree training and increase their leadership potential.

Educational programs open to full- or part-time employees include the following:

  • Full tuition prepayment at Rush University
  • Generous tuition assistance to relevant degree programs at other colleges and universities and to nondegree training programs, workshops and seminars
  • On-site training programs in clinical nursing and new technology
  • Online classes through Rush University
  • Flexible scheduling to accommodate coursework

Nurse Residency Program

New graduate nurses should not start their professional journey alone. Here at Rush University Medical Center, our Nurse Residency Program supports the new bachelor- or master’s-prepared graduate throughout the first six months of clinical practice, beyond orientation.

The goal is to support our new graduate hires’ professional transition from the life of a nursing student to that of a competent professional nurse.

Participation in six months of residency meetings is part of new graduate nurses’ regular work assignment. Nursing leadership supports this participation. Expert nurses lead residency activities, emphasizing topics that integrate real-world experience with the application of evidence-based practice. Topics include the following:

  • Patient safety
  • Critical thinking
  • Communicating care
  • Leadership skills
  • Stress management
  • End-of-life decision making
  • Professional career development

Minimum requirements for new graduates hired into the Nurse Residency Program include the following:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing
  • Illinois RN license
  • Full-time employment
  • No prior work experience as a registered nurse

There is no separate application for the Nurse Residency Program. All new graduate nurses hired by Rush University Medical Center who meet the criteria above are automatically enrolled in the Nurse Residency Program.

New graduates are hired on a monthly basis for specific units. After completing unit orientation with a preceptor, you will begin attending nurse residency meetings.

For more information about the Rush Nurse Residency Program at Rush University Medical Center, contact ProfessionalNursing_Practice@rush.edu.

Rush Copley Medical Center

New Grad RN Program

New grads are able to grow into their nursing career with support from Rush Copley’s START Program, a residency program for new graduate nurses. Benefits include a welcoming environment, specialized education and training, a dedicated mentor and more to help grads make the transition from student to professional nurse.

Why START?

New grads can feel confident that they’ll find the tools, training and support needed to bridge the gap between theory and practice in our nurse residency program — it’s in the name. START stands for:

  • Skill development
  • Thinking critically
  • Applying evidence to the bedside
  • Resource utilization and support
  • Transitioning into nursing practice

Our START program has a great track record: 87 percent of new graduate nurses who join our START program stay here for their entire first year, and 62 percent stay for at least four years.

What to Expect in the START Program

Our dedicated preceptors and clinical nurse educators guide new grads through the first months as registered nurses to ensure they can confidently provide safe, high-quality patient care. After a comprehensive orientation, members of the START program will participate in the following:

  • 32 hours of classroom instruction
  • Hands-on, risk-free training in our Simulation, Training and Resource (STAR) Center
  • Approximately eight weeks working closely with a nurse preceptor in a medical surgical unit (up to 16 weeks if working in a specialty unit)
  • Regular support sessions with unit preceptor/clinical nurse educators and clinical nurse managers
  • A nursing project and poster presentation
  • Lunch with the chief nursing officer and other nursing leaders
  • Year-long mentoring program

Nurse Residency Curriculum

New grads will gain professional knowledge from experienced clinical nurse educators about many topics, including the following:

  • Conflict management
  • Critical thinking
  • Delegation
  • Disease processes
  • Engagement
  • Professional accountability
  • Time management

Nurse Mentorship

New grads build a relationship with a nurse they admire through our mentorship program. They benefit from his or her perspective, feedback and encouragement and meet regularly throughout the first year at Rush Copley. Most START program members find a mentor at our speed networking event, which includes nurses from across the organization who’ve volunteered to become mentors and undergone special training.

Who Can Be a START Nurse?

Requirements to apply for a position in Rush Copley’s new graduate nurse program include the following:

  • Recently graduated from an accredited RN program with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above
  • Have less than one year of acute care experience
  • Have or will have your Illinois nursing license at least two weeks before the program begins

A bachelor of science (BSN) degree is preferred, but not required. If you’re accepted into the program with an associate’s degree, you’ll be expected to earn a BSN within five years.

How To Apply as a New Graduate Nurse

To find the job listing for the START Program at Rush Copley, view our current job opportunities and enter "new grad RN" in the keyword search box.

Sessions start in March and August of each year. Applications are accepted year-round.

Nursing Portfolio

New grads who are selected as prospective candidates will be asked to submit a portfolio that highlights their professional goals and accomplishments. The portfolio should include the following:

  • Resume
  • College transcript(s)
  • Professional credentials, such as copies of your nursing degree, CPR card, etc.
  • RN license, or National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass confirmation or NCLEX test date
  • 500-word essay explaining why you should be chosen for the START Program

References are submitted separately online and must include at least three clinical instructors.

Accreditation with Distinction Statement

The Rush Copley START Nurse Residency Program is accredited with distinction as a Practice Transition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs.

The current sites included in this accreditation with distinction designation are: Copley Memorial Hospital (Rush Copley).

The current workplace settings included in this accreditation with distinction designation are:

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Neuroscience Unit (NSU)
  • Emergency Department (ED)
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Obstetrics
  • Medical Surgical Units (MS1, MS2)
  • Orthopedics/Neurology/Pediatrics (ONP)
  • Intermediate Care Unit (ICA)
  • Labor and Delivery (L&D)
  • Acute Rehab (PMR)

Professional Growth and Development

Nurses are encouraged to grow their clinical, research and leadership skills at Rush Copley.

Support for Academic Progression

Rush Copley nurses have the ability to take advantage of a wide range of benefits to help achieve their professional goals:

Share Your Learning Needs

Each year, our clinical nurse educators survey nurses at every level of the organization to discover what type of learning is most needed. Then, they develop an educational plan to meet those needs.

Our Partnership with Rush University

We continue to expand opportunities for professional development and education as our partnership with Rush University Medical Center grows. Learn more about our connection with Rush University.

Nursing Simulation Lab (STAR Center)

Nurses are encouraged to expand their clinical skills and competencies in the risk-free environment of Rush Copley Medical Center’s nursing Simulation, Training and Resource (STAR) Center. Participate in patient care scenarios using realistic medical simulators, and work with experienced clinical nurse educators to review, evaluate and learn from your experience.

Nursing Research Opportunities

Rush Copley nurses contribute to the science of nursing care and are a catalyst for innovation and change by participating in nursing research. There are a multitude of opportunities to investigate and develop knowledge that advances nursing practice and transforms patient care.

Meaningful Recognition

When nurses make outstanding contributions to patient care at Rush Copley, it’s noticed and recognized. Peers and supervisors acknowledge these efforts in day-to-day interactions and through formal programs. Plus, patients, families and guests routinely recognize extraordinary care through the HERO (Healthcare Employees Reaching Out) program.

Rush Oak Park Hospital

Rush Oak Park Hospital nurses also have the opportunity to participate in a Nurse Residency Program upon hiring.

Nurse Residency Program

New graduate nurses should not start their professional journey alone. Here at Rush Oak Park Hospital our Nurse Residency Program supports the new bachelor- or master’s-prepared graduate throughout the first year of clinical practice, beyond orientation.

The goal is to support our new graduate hires’ professional transition from the life of a nursing student to that of a competent professional nurse.

Participation in one year of residency meetings (once a month) is part of new graduate nurses’ regular work assignment. Nursing leadership supports this participation. New graduate nurses are also assigned a preceptor who provides them guidance throughout the Nurse Residency Program.

Expert nurses lead residency activities, emphasizing topics that integrate real-world experience with the application of evidence-based practice. Topics include the following:

  • Patient safety
  • Critical thinking
  • Communicating care
  • Leadership skills
  • Stress management
  • End-of-life decision making
  • Professional career development

Minimum requirements for new graduates hired into the Nurse Residency Program include the following:

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing
  • Illinois RN license
  • Full-time employment
  • No prior work experience as a registered nurse

There is no separate application for the Nurse Residency Program. All new graduate nurses hired by Rush Oak Park Hospital who meet the criteria above are automatically enrolled in the Nurse Residency Program.

New graduates are hired on a monthly basis for specific units. After completing unit orientation with a preceptor, you will begin attending nurse residency meetings.

For more information about the Rush Nurse Residency Program at Rush Oak Park Hospital, contact ProfessionalNursing_Practice@rush.edu.

Nursing Professional Development and Growth at Rush Copley

Pursuing Her Dream of Becoming a Nurse Practitioner

Andrea is pursuing her dream of being a nurse practitioner Andrea, an RN 2 at Rush University Medical Center, appreciates the way Rush truly values professional growth and career advancement.

Rush’s full tuition prepayment is allowing her to work full-time while pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree at Rush University College of Nursing.

Says Andrea: "Without this benefit, I would not be able to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse practitioner."

Hear more from Andrea

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Raymond Ledda (pictured above), unit director for acute inpatient rehabilitation, was one of eight Rush nurses named a 2020 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader by the Illinois Nurses Foundation. Ledda, who joined Rush as a nursing assistant in 2007, received a master's degree from the College of Nursing in 2018.

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Rush University College of Nursing: Among the Best in the U.S.

Access to degree programs at the top-ranked Rush University College of Nursing is one of the top benefits of being a Rush nurse. 

Learn more
Learn more

Ledda One of Illinois Nurses Foundation's '40 Under 40'

Raymond Ledda (pictured above), unit director for acute inpatient rehabilitation, was one of eight Rush nurses named a 2020 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader by the Illinois Nurses Foundation. Ledda, who joined Rush as a nursing assistant in 2007, received a master's degree from the College of Nursing in 2018.

Learn more
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