Last year Belmont University announced the creation of a Public Health Nurse Residency Program in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health. This is the the first program of its kind for new graduates in the state and one of only a few in the country. For the inaugural year of the program, recent Belmont alumnae Acqueline Caine and Kaitlin Malick were selected for the residency program.
Dr. Cathy Taylor, dean of Belmont’s College of Health Science and Nursing, said, “This has been a dream of mine for more than 10 years, and we are so proud of Acqueline and Kaitlin. PHN practice requires confidence, extensive preparation and a broad skill set, so only experienced nurses have been eligible for these positions in the past. But with enhanced coaching and orientation, we believe those eligibility restrictions can be lifted for our graduates, and more patients can receive the care they need.”
Malick added, “The Public Health Nurse Residency program has primarily helped me think beyond the clinic walls and think about what my community, region, and state needs and how to participate in those efforts. We have visited the TN state legislature, sat in on a meeting that determines the protocols that dictate Public Health nursing practice, and met with people who run a variety of statewide health programs. There are many opportunities in public health to be a change agent with a broad impact and this residency has helped me build those skills. “
The mission of Public Health Nurse Residency Program is to provide a supportive environment that facilitates the transition from a new graduate to a public health nurse with the knowledge and skills to contribute to the protection, promotion and improvement of the health of people in Tennessee. The residency program begins with an eight week standardized Public Health Nursing Orientation. Once this stage is complete, the nurse residents will obtain clinical experience in their assigned health department, Maury or Montgomery County. Throughout the program each resident receives support from a trained nurse mentor and is provided with additional educational experiences that reflective the 8 domains of Community / Public Health Nursing competencies.
Pictured in the above photo are ( left to right ) Amanda Waterman, Belmont College of Health Science & Nursing’s Clinical Placement Coordinator; Tatum Johnson, Tennessee Department of Health Assistant State Director of Nursing; Acqueline Caine, RN, PHN Resident; Dr. Martha Buckner, Belmont College of Health Science & Nursing’s Associate Dean for Nursing; Kaitlin Malick, RN, PHN Resident; Jenny Dudzinski, Tennessee Department of Health State Director of Nursing; and Dr. Cathy Taylor, Dean of Belmont’s College of Health Science & Nursing.