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
  • Copy of official transcripts
  • Less than six months acute care work experience
  • Two written professional references, one from a clinical instructor.
  • Letter of intent that answers:
    • What influenced you to pursue a career in nursing?
    • Why are you interested in the RN Residency Program?
    • Where do you see yourself in five years?
    • An essay stating the two particular nursing departments you wish to work in and why.

Nurse Residency Program FAQ

Read our FAQ to learn more about our program.  

How to Apply

Candidates should apply for "Registered Nurse Residency" using the online application.

Timeline for July 2015 Cohort

  • Applications accepted March 2 - 27, 2015
  • Application screening starts April 13, 2015
  • Interviews scheduled and conducted the end of April 2015 through the first half of May 2015.
  • Applicants notified second half of May through first week in June 2015.
  • Onboarding appointments June 8 - July 10, 2015
  • Day One July 15, 2015

Timeline for October 2015 Cohort

  • Applications accepted June 1 - June 26, 2015
  • Application screening starts July 13, 2015
  • Interviews scheduled and conducted end of July 2015 through first half of August 2015
  • Applicants Notified second half of August 2015
  • Onboarding appointments September 7 - October 2, 2015
  • Day One October 7, 2015

 Timeline for February 2016 Cohort

  • Applications accepted October 1, 2015 - October 30, 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

New graduates with an interest in specialty positions such as Critical Care, Emergency Nursing, Mother Baby, Children's Hospital, Surgical Services, Medical Surgical and Behavioral Health should indicate their top two preferences in their letter of intent. Cohorts enter three times per year, February, July and October.

New RN graduates interested in Rehab positions are not eligible to participate in the Registered Nurse Residency program at this time. Please apply directly to those areas. 

Applicants should mail or email a copy of their resume, two letters of recommendation, letter of intent and a copy of their current official transcript to: or

Christine Clancy, MSN
Residency Coordinator
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
1415 Woodland, Ste. 152D
Des Moines, IA 50309

Questions: email