When Nellie McGlashen, RN, headed for Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, she was interested in a college major that supported her passion for health. She explored kinesiology and public health, ultimately deciding to pursue a nursing degree.

“I’m very interested in creating healthy communities,” she said. “I knew with a nursing degree I would be in a perfect position to do that.”

It was during nursing school that Nellie discovered while her true passion was nursing, it was not public health nursing.

“I fell in love with bedside nursing,” she said.

After graduation, Nellie wanted to put that passion into practice in a new community. With a brother living in Phoenix, she moved Arizona to the top of the list. She researched Flagstaff and Sedona, but the Prescott area – and Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) – rose to the top.

“The RN New Grad Program at YRMC was specifically what interested me,” Nellie said. “It offered support and education to make it an easier transition from school nursing to professional nursing. The program gives new grads the opportunity to learn and work in the clinical area of interest. It’s an individually tailored orientation program.”

Christi Nelson, RN, agrees. She helps facilitate YRMC’s RN New Graduate Program as an IS Nurse Education Specialist. The program – supported in part by generous donors – has graduated 36 nurses since it was launched in 2013. Two years into the program it was expanded to give new graduates the opportunity to select a specialty area – like the Emergency Department – as their clinical area.

“Our program helps new nursing grads gain experience and confidence,” Christi said.

Depending on the clinical area, the RN New Graduate Program participant may have three to six months of orientation and training. All program participants are part of a cohort that meets regularly to discuss challenges and support each other.

“This is a very special part of the program,” Nellie said. “Getting to know my peers and talking to them was amazing. We would discuss professional articles we had read and support each other. It built a strong bond.”

All participants are assigned a mentor who works with them throughout the program and even after to ease transition. Nellie’s mentor was Amanda Robinson, RN, YRMC Clinical Coordinator, Patient Care Services.

“Amanda helped improve my skills and techniques for IV and Foley insertions,” said Nellie. “She also taught me what to do in certain situations when a patient is deteriorating. She helped me understand how to put the complete picture together and prioritize. What needs to be done first? What’s the most critical thing to do?”

Nellie and Amanda continued to meet after Nellie completed the RN New Graduate Program as a part of the program’s extended mentorship. This is another way YRMC supports exceptional new nursing school graduates like Nellie.

Nellie now works in the Multi-Care Unit at YRMC East. She has embraced YRMC’s caring culture and its Mission, Vision and Values—something that can’t be taught.

“Patients don’t remember you as the nurse who put in their NG tube, but they do remember how you treated them and how they felt while you were caring for them,” she said.

There’s no doubt that Nellie has continued to develop her life’s passion at YRMC, thanks in part to support she received from the RN New Graduate Program.