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 new RN with the tools necessary to deliver safe, effective and competent high-quality patient care.

Program Highlights

  • A yearlong 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.  
  • Understanding that Evidence Based Practice is at the forefront of nursing excellence, participants will have the opportunity to identify, develop and implement a Residency Project during their residency program.
  • Classroom instruction specific to the orientation track clinical area.
  • Use of clinical simulation to foster effective critical thinking skills.
  • Clinical Preceptorship under the guidance of an experienced preceptor/clinical coach.
  • Ongoing continuing education and professional development opportunities.
  • Dedicated nurse educators are available both during and following the program.
  • An assigned professional nurse mentor to provide additional support and guidance. 


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


  • Graduate of an accredited nursing program
  • Successful completion of NCLEX
  • Current Iowa RN License or RN License from a state that is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement
  • Less than six months acute care work experience at the time of application

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
    • An essay discussing the patient population(s) you are most interested in providing nursing care. Include an explanation of how the art and science of nursing specifically impacts patient outcomes.
  3. Two professional written letters of recommendation; one from a nursing faculty member on program letterhead.
  4. If current UPH Staff, a third recommendation letter should be submitted from your current manager.
  5. Official copy of 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 and Information for 2017 Cohorts

All applicants for the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Nurse Residency program will be considered for the Medical-Surgical Specialty Track.  New graduates with an interest in a position outside of the Medical-Surgical Specialty should review the orientation tracks available  in February, July and October.

RN Residency Program Application & Cohort Start Dates