Nurse Residency Program | UnityPoint Health - Dubuque

Nurse Residency Program 

UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital is investing in new nurses by offering a Nurse Residency Program. New graduates or anyone new to an acute hospital setting and starting their career at Finley Hospital are automatically enrolled in the program.  The program is designed to help new graduates successfully transition to professional practice in the acute care setting.

The Nurse Residency Program is a six month program offered twice per year. Communication, professionalism, technical skills, critical thinking, management of responsibilities and clinical knowledge are the key focus areas for the Nurse Residency Program. The program includes seminars two times per month, guided reflections, simulation, case studies and scheduled time with a nurse mentor.


The Nurse Residency Program is available for nurses starting their careers at Finley Hospital. Interested individuals must apply for a position at Finley Hospital, but do not have to apply for entry into the Nurse Residency Program.  Nurses meeting the criteria below are automatically enrolled in the program once they have accepted a position at Finley Hospital. 

Candidates for the Nurse Residency Program must have graduated from an accredited nursing program with an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor Degree in Nursing. The candidate will have in his or her possession a nursing license allowing practice in the State of Iowa.  Before starting the program, they must also complete hospital and unit orientation.


The Residency graduate will accomplish transition into professional practice delivering confident, safe, and comprehensive patient care based on critical thinking and socialization into the health care team as a fully functioning member.


The Residency graduate will:

  • Recognize key elements related to patient safety and outcomes directly impacted by the professional nurse
  • Recognize and act upon key assessment and data elements using clinical knowledge and  critical thinking skills
  • Utilize communication techniques with patients, families and the health care team


It is the responsibility of each Resident to be fully engaged and participate in all of the RN Residency activities, including, but not limited to: group discussion, role-playing, simulation, journal reflections and case studies. Residents are expected to dress and behave professionally exhibiting Finley core values at all times.  

Attendance Policy

Nurse Residents are expected to attend and be on time for all 12 seminars during the core curriculum. Attendance is the same as a scheduled shift on the unit; unexcused absences are equivalent to an absence on the unit. A maximum of two excused absences will be allowed for residency seminars. Scheduling conflicts do not constitute an excused absence.

Illness is considered an excused absence and is defined according to the UnityPoint Health Attendance Policy as:

Residents who cannot attend a scheduled seminar are required to notify their supervisor and education manager prior to the starting time.

Residence Methodologies


Twelve 3-4 hour seminars meet twice a month for six months. A variety of clinical education and health care experts from Finley Hospital will present topics relevant to the Nurse Residency goals and objectives. Active learning strategies and adult learning principles will be used to facilitate content delivery.


Reflection is encouraged among nursing professionals and is an important aspect of professional growth and development in nursing. Residents will complete reflections for each seminar that describe how the concept(s) presented can be applied to their individual practice. Prompts meant to stimulate growth in emotional intelligence and professionalism will be assigned. Journal reflections will be shared with small mentoring groups.


Simulation is part of the Residency Program with a combination of active simulation and debriefings.