Nurse Residency Program

Launching your nursing career is an exciting time, but it also can be a little frightening. That's why UnityPoint Health - Des Moines is strongly committed to its Nurse Residency Program, which ensures our nurses do not start their journey alone, but are instead nurtured every step of the way. Our program is designed to provide each RN with the tools necessary to deliver safe, effective and competent high-quality patient care.

Program Highlights

  • A 12-month program to smooth transition into practice.
  • A series of thoughtfully developed classes that will enhance skills in critical thinking, assessment, leadership and clinical decision making.
  • Participation in this program is a part of the regular work assignment.  Nurse residents participate in monthly seminars over a 12-month period.
  • Understanding that Evidence Based Practice is at the forefront of nursing excellence, participants will have the opportunity to identify, develop and implement an Evidence Based Project during their residency program. 
  • Classroom instruction specific to the clinical area using a focused case study approach to learning.
  • Use of clinical simulation to foster effective critical thinking skills.
  • Clinical Preceptorship under the guidance of an experience clinical coach.
  • Ongoing continuing education and professional development opportunities.
  • Dedicated nurse educators are available both during and following the program.


Our Preceptors are chosen specifically for this experience by their nurse manager, in collaboration with the Program Coordinator. They are provided training on the preceptor role.


  • Graduate of an accredited nursing program
  • Successful completion of NCLEX
  • Current Iowa RN License
  • Less than six months acute care work experience

Nurse Residency Program FAQ

Read our FAQ to learn more about our program.  

How to Apply

All candidates, including current staff, should apply by completing an online application for the  "Registered Nurse Residency" posting during one of the time frames listed below. In addition, all applicants must submit the following documents.  Please note: the application and additional documents must be completed/submitted by the deadlines listed in the timelines below.

  1. Professional Resume
  2. Letter of Intent that answers/describes:
    • What influenced you to pursue a career in nursing
    • Why you are interested in the RN Residency Program
    • Where you see yourself in five years
    • Two orientation tracks (refer to FAQ document above) you would prefer to work and why
  3. Two recommendation letters (one being from a Clinical Instructor on school letterhead or e-mailed directly from the instructor)
  4. If current UPH Staff, a third recommendation letter should be submitted from your Manager
  5. Nursing School Transcript(s)

Please email the above documents to  Email is the preferred method, if you are unable to email, please send documents to the following address:
    UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
    Nurse Residency Program
    ERC Building, Suite 152D
    1200 Pleasant Street
    Des Moines, IA  50309

Timeline for February 2016 Cohort

  • Applications accepted October 1, 2015 - October 30, 2015
  • Deadline for application submission:  5 PM on October 30, 2015
  • Deadline for supporting document submission:  5 PM on November 2, 2015
  • Application screening starts November 16, 2015
  • Interviews scheduled and conducted end of November 2015 through first half of December 2015
  • Applicants Notified second half of December 2015 through first half of January 2016
  • Onboarding appointments January 25, 2016 - February 19, 2016
  • Day One February 24, 2016

Timeline for July 2016 Cohort

  • Applications accepted February 28, 2016 – March 25, 2016
  • Deadline for application submission:  5PM on March 25, 2016
  • Deadline for supporting document submission:  5PM on March 28, 2016
  • Application screening starts April 11, 2016
  • Interviews scheduled and conducted end of April through first half of May 2016
  • Applicants Notified mid-May 2016 
  • Onboarding appointments June 6 – July 8, 2016
  • Day One July 13, 2016

Timeline for October 2016 Cohort

  • Applications accepted May 31 – June 24, 2016
  • Deadline for application submission:  5 PM on June 24, 2016
  • Deadline for supporting document submission:  5 PM on June 27, 2016
  • Application screening starts July 11, 2016
  • Interviews scheduled and conducted end of July through first half of August 2016
  • Applicants Notified mid-August 2016
  • Onboarding appointments September 6 – 30, 2016
  • Day One October 5, 2016

New graduates with an interest in specialty positions should review the available orientation tracks and indicate their top two preferences in their letter of intent. Please contact us with any questions.