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The January 2013 Graduate Nurse Residency for Penn State, will be posted August 15, 2012 | Nurse Residency Programs

The January 2013 Graduate Nurse Residency for Penn State, will be posted August 15, 2012

The January 2013 Graduate Nurse Residency for Penn State, will be posted August 15, 2012

Designed for the new graduate nurse (and recently licensed Registered Nurse), this year-long program facilitates the transition from student nurse to professional nurse using a myriad of educational techniques. The length of the orientation period will vary between 12 and 20 weeks, depending on the unit and/or specialty. During this time, an RN preceptor provides support, encouagement, and expertise, and shares in the daily rewards and challenges of nursing at Penn State Hershey.

The January 2013 Graduate Nurse Residency, will be posted August 15, 2012 – September 15, 2012

Designed for the new graduate nurse (and recently licensed Registered Nurse), this year-long program facilitates the transition from student nurse to professional nurse using a myriad of educational techniques.  The length of the orientation period will vary between 12 and 20 weeks, depending on the unit and/or specialty.  During this time, an RN preceptor provides support, encouagement, and expertise, and shares in the daily rewards and challenges of nursing at Penn State Hershey.  Once orientation is complete, the Residency continues with required monthly seminars, educational opportunities, and activities that provide an atmosphere of camraderie where participants celebrate their personal growth, skill development, and burgeoning self confidence with one another. These four-hour seminars provide the opportunity for residents to build a supportive network with other nurses who are just beginning their careers at Penn State Hershey.

The residency is a full-time position with pay and benefits effective the first day of hire. Upon successful completion of the orientation, a resident moves into a regularly scheduled pattern of shifts for his/her position.  Graduate Nurse Residents are expected to remain full-time on one unit for the entire year of the program, as well as actively participate in all generalized and specialty learning opportunities that are offered.

Quote from a current Graduate Nurse Resident: “I feel valued and supported as a new nurse.  The Graduate Nurse Residency is helping me become the nurse I have always wanted to be.”

To speak with a Nurse Recruiter, please call Lynn McCleary at 717-531-1118 or email lmccleary1@hmc.psu.edu.

What is a Graduate Nurse Residency? The Graduate Nurse Residency is a structured twelve-month program that facilitates the transition from student nurse to fully functioning and competent staff nurse on the unit. The program is designed to provide the necessary knowledge and ongoing support, utilizing such strategies as classroom learning, seminars, case studies, small group discussion, simulation, precepted clinical practice, evidence-based practice exploration/ projects, and personal interactions with expert facilitators.

How difficult is the application process? While the process is straight-forward and not difficult, it can seem overwhelming at first glance.  We do not apologize for seeking the best possible nurses, and in order to succeed in finding them, our requirements may be more than expected.  To help you decide whether to spend the time and energy applying, and to make the process more manageable if you do, we break it down into FOUR basic steps:
1.  the Application – estimated time to complete is 1 hour 2.  the Questionnaire – estimated time to complete is 30 minutes 3.  the Professional Portfolio – estimated time to complete is 4-6 hours (spread out over a few days) 4.  the Reference Check – estimated time to initiate it is 30 minutes

Should I apply to staff nurse jobs on the units that interest me? No. As a Graduate Nurse Resident, you will apply to just ONE position, the posting that begins with the letters GNR. If you apply to other nursing positions, your applications will be deemed ineligible based on lack of experience. When you apply to the GNR position, you will have an opportunity to state your areas of interest on the emailed Questionnaire that follows.

If I am offered and accept a position, may I transfer to  another unit when a position opens up? The expectation is clear that a Graduate Nurse Resident must remain on the hiring unit for at least the full year of the residency.  Ideally, you will want to stay on the unit for years to come.

Will I know which units are hiring and how many positions they will have? Due to the fluidity of our projected staffing needs, the numbers are not known to anyone (including managers and recruiters) until we are well into the application process.  This is partially, though not solely based on budget and on the availability of preceptors.

To how many units will my Portfolio be sent? If your Portfolio is of high quality, it will be sent to the managers of your top two unit choices for review.  Therefore,  it is vital that you contemplate your responses on the Questionnaire, as those answers will determine who receives your Portfolio.

How will I know what type of patients the different units specialize in, and which units interest me most? From the tab called “Specialty Areas” click on the link and it will take you to the unit descriptions.

I already have my license.  Must I complete a Nurse Residency in order to be hired at Penn State Hershey? Yes, all new graduates are required to complete our Graduate Nurse Residency program. If you have a minimum six months of acute care (hospital) RN experience, you may apply for a staff nurse position and potentially be hired without the Residency. However, more experienced nurses will present strong competition for those positions.

When can I apply for a Graduate Nurse Residency at Penn State Hershey? For the January 2013 Residency, the position will be posted on the website between midnight on August 15, 2012 and 3:00 PM on September 15, 2012.

Once I apply, when will I know whether I am chosen for an interview? Depending on when you apply, it may be several weeks before you are contacted about interviewing.  Interview invitations will be emailed sometime in late October or early November  If you have not heard anything by mid-November, then you can assume that you have not been chosen for the initial phase of interviews.

If I graduated in Summer 2012, am I eligible for the January 2013 Residency? Yes, but you will be expected to have passed NCLEX prior to interviewing.  We will consider each case individually, partially dependent upon what you have done since graduating.  Working elsewhere does NOT disqualify you from the Residency.  If, however, you graduated in Spring 2012 (or prior), you have “aged out” of the Residency program.  In this case, please gain at least 6 months’ acute care experience elsewhere, and then apply as a Staff Nurse.

Is there a minimum GPA for acceptance? Because the Residency is an extension of the studying/learning experience, a GPA of 3.0 and higher is preferred.

Is a BSN required in order to be hired as a Graduate Nurse Resident? No, but in order to be hired without a BSN, any staff nurse hopeful (both new graduate and experienced nurse) must  be willing to enroll in a BSN program within a year of hire, and complete the degree within 6 years.  PSHMC offers tuition assistance to help make it financially feasible.

Which email address should I provide? Please create an email address that is not afiliated with your school, and check it often.  The reason is that sometimes we need to contact you after you graduate, and your school address is invalid.  I stress, though … check your email frequently.  Please document this non-school email on both your application and on your Questionnaire.


I was an Extern last year. Do I need to reapply? Yes, you will need to go through the entire application process, and put forward your best effort to secure an interview. Applications, resumes, cover letters and transcripts are still required.  Within a few days after applying online, you will receive an emailed Questionnaire to complete. If you are still employed with us as a Patient Safety Companion, CNA, Extern, etc. please apply online using the “internal” application.  If you are still on payroll at PSHMC, you will not need to be drug screened or fingerprinted again, nor will you need a new Checkster report.  Instead, your evaluation from your Externship will be reviewed.  Also, you will be exempt from much of the new hire paperwork.

Besides completing the online application, what else do I need to do? Within a few days after your application is submitted, you will receive an electronic Questionnaire.  This is an important document and should be completed thoughtfully and accurately.  After submitting the Questionnaire, you will receive an email with instructions on how to electronically submit your Professional Portfolio.  Once the Professional Portfolio is received, you will be instructed on our electronic reference checking process.  The Professional Portfolio will include: a.  Resume – list all education and experience, including dates. b.  Cover Letter – do NOT specify the precise units where you want to work, but rather indicate broader specialties.  The rationale behind keeping it general is that you may need to interview in more than one place.  c.  Unofficial Transcript – can be found on your school’s website.  If you are hired, you will need to bring your final Official Transcript to New Employee Orientation, along with your license or Temporary Practice Permit. d.  Clinical Narrative (see details on the Clinical Narrative tab)

What is the difference between Unofficial and Official transcripts? *  Unofficial transcripts can be viewed by you and printed from your school’s website at will. *  Official transcripts are mailed from your Bursar’s Office, with your school’s official seal.

If I submit my Portfolio immediately, do I have a better chance of being hired? As soon as we receive your Portfolio, we compile it and make it available for the Nurse Managers to review, so it is helpful for us, and advantageous to you, if we receive it early.  Please do not wait until the last week,  At the very latest, we will anticipate receiving your entire portfolio by September 20, 2012, which means the application must be completed by the Septembwer 15th deadline.  During the ongoing process, submitted portfolios will be reviewed with equal discernment, compared and contrasted with one another, and evaluated for interview viability.

Is this a paid Nurse Residency? Yes. In fact, this is not at all like a medical student’s residency where you put in time for educational purposes and then leave.  At Penn State Hershey, all Graduate Nurse Residents are selected to fill a staff nurse position on the hiring unit. You will receive a full salary and comprehensive benefits beginning the day you start New Employee Orientation.

Am I guaranteed an interview if I apply? Not everyone who applies will be granted a face-to-face interview.  Managers will decide who to interview based on the Professional Portfolio, which you will be instructed to submit electronically once we receive your Questionnaire.

Will I be granted an interview wherever I want to work? We do strive to place you where you will be content to grow and contribute, as training a new graduate is a big commitment for a nursing unit.  When submitting your Questionnaire, you will state your top three preferred nursing areas; while we will attempt to schedule interviews with those nurse managers, some specialties are more popular than others, and being granted an interview in those areas may be more challenging.

When will interviews be conducted? We will set aside two days in November, and to accommodate the managers’ schedules, we are trying to limit interviews to those two days.

Is preference given to Penn State or to other local college students? We hire students from all over the country, and they are all evaluated on the same criteria.  With that said, managers must consider the probability that a nurse who relocates to Hershey will acclimate successfully and thrive in the Hershey community, and at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.  Decisions, therefore, are sometiimes based on whether a candidate has “ties” to the area.  To reiterate, our Graduate Nurse Residents do come from many different states.

If I am not local, might I be reimbursed for my travel expenses if I come to interview?  Do you provide relocation assistance if I am hired? Unfortunately, the answer to both questions is no.  Your travel to interview and/or relocation costs are not reimbursed.

On what criteria is the hiring decision made? Different managers place varying degrees of emphasis on hiring criteria, but in general they look at GPA, past experience, references, clinical narrative, and interview score.  Of course, they are seeking applicants who will bring a positive influence to their team.  If you are graduating without a BSN, it is advised that you have a plan to pursue it as soon as possible.

What shift will I be working? As a Graduate Nurse Resident, your offer letter will indicate a varied shift, and you will most likely be assigned to a full-time 4×4 rotating position, four weeks on days and four weeks on nights (or evenings if the position is day/eve). Once the orientation period (12-14-20 weeks) is complete and you have passed NCLEX, you will have the opportunity to apply to other available full-time shifts on your unit. Your full-time status must be maintained for the entire year of the Nurse Residency.

May I send all my information by US Postal Service? Please do not. We prefer to receive everything electronically. It is recommended that you email the entire application portfolio simultaneously via PDF attachments. This ensures the efficient receipt and storage of all documents. Please identify yourself on all correspondence, as we typically receive several hundred applications.  Please click on the “Portfolio” tab for specific directions on how to submit the Professional Portfolio.

Do I need written references from my professors? No. You will be asked (by email) for seven email addresses of people who are familiar with your quality of work.  If at least three of them respond, the report is still valid.  DO NOT be tempted to submit more than seven, as it could work against you.  We recommend that you utilize past employers, professors, instructors, preceptors, supervisors, and coaches. The reference check will then be conducted electronically. Please let your references know ahead of time that they will receive a survey that is quick, easy, anonymous, accurate, but time sensitive and must be completed promptly.  From the moment I send you the email from Checkster (the reference checking company), the report is only open for ONE WEEK, and references must respond during that time.


What uniforms will I need? Uniform colors are specific to the various units, and will be discussed during your interview. While a few units provide scrubs, for most areas you will be responsible for the purchase and care of uniforms and/or scrubs.


What can I do to prepare for the interview?

  • Plan Ahead. Research Penn State Hershey and the position if possible. Review your work experiences, and be ready to support past career and school accomplishments with specific information targeted toward our needs.
  • Dress appropriately. This is a competitive job interview, dress professionally, preferably in a suit.
  • Be on time. It is best to arrive at the interview area 5 minutes before the scheduled interview time. If you find that you are too early, you may visit our Starbuck’s coffee shop or gift shop in the east wing lobby.

Do you have any advice for the interview?

  • Awareness. – An interview is a two-way exchange of information. In addition to researching Penn State Hershey, demonstrate your interest by formulating questions in advance to ask the interviewer.
  • Eye Contact – Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Demonstrate that you want the job with your interest in the position, and in that particular nursing unit.
  • Positive Attitude – In particular, avoid negative comments about past employers or professors.  Listen and adapt – Be sensitive to the style of the interviewer. Pay attention to details, as they may offer helpful clues to assist you in tailoring your presentation.
  • Ability to Relate – Try to relate your answers to the interviewer and to Penn State Hershey. Focus mostly on achievements that would be relevant to the position. Provide answers that are specific to the questions.

When will selections be made? We anticipate that selections will be made by December 2012 for the January 2013 Graduate Nurse Residency.

Will I be contacted whether I get the position or not? Those who are being offered a position will be contacted first.  It may take a couple of weeks for those who are not offered a position to hear that news definitively.  We apologize in advance for the delay, but if offers are declined, we are still working through the list of possible hires, and will not know the final outcome until later.

If I am not chosen, will I be offered feedback as to why, and on how to improve my interview skills? While we would like to provide these services, it is simply not feasible with the number of applicants we  have.  If you are invited to interview, you are obviously a very good candidate, and most likely the decision was made on very small differences.  Perhaps an instructor at your school is a good resource.