Document Type



Doctor of Nursing Practice



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Sue Dean-Baar


Dr. Roberta Lavin

Dr. Amanda Emke



Background: There has been a significant amount of research into the many challenges that nurse practitioners (NPs) face as they transition from school to practice, however, there is limited research on how to improve this transition. Regardless of the setting in which the NPs are working, novices NPs alike report feelings of being unprepared and experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, fear, and frustration. New research suggests that a comprehensive NP orientation and residency programs may provide a way to integrate the new NPs into their practice environment successfully.

Method: Kern’s Six Step Approach to Curriculum Development for Medical Education focusing on problem identification, needs analysis, goals/ objectives, and education strategies for implementation was used to guide the curriculum development of an orientation and residency program that increased unit specific knowledge and training and facilitating successful transition into their role as an advanced care provider.

Intervention: The pediatric critical care content and learning methods were identified through a review of orientation experiences a review of content by both new and experienced NPs in the PICU. A minimum six-month orientation and mentoring program was developed for implementation. Pre-and post-program evaluations were designed to identify individual needs, and knowledge gained.

Conclusion: While the culture may differ between hospital systems, the process of developing the SLCH PICU New APN Orientation and Mentoring Program is amenable to any specialty and, as such, has significant and positive implications for APN practice.