Research & Innovation

Nurse Residency Program Newsletters


St. Luke’s Nurse Residency Program celebrating one year

In July St. Luke’s Nurse Residency Program will celebrate the final seminar for our first full-year cohort. Our facilitators are working together to build our residency program, developing dynamic hands-on activities to enhance residents’ clinical reasoning. We could not have accomplished so much so quickly without the help of many throughout the Network, from medicine to respiratory, pharmacy and finance, to the Network Simulation Department and countless others, our success is largely due to you. Many thanks!

Special points of interest:

  1. Cohort 1 is graduating in July—many cohort 1 members are continuing their education and looking forward to certification in their chosen specialties.
  2. Cohort 2 is beginning to explore EBP to examine practice and positively impact patient care.
  3. Cohort 3 has much to look forward to, including the dynamic seminar de-scribed on pages 2 & 3.
  4. Cohort 4 will begin Residency in August with 74 newly licensed RNs.

Resident Cohorts

Cohort 1
Our August 2017 cohort graduated residency in July. Residents worked hard on evidence-based research projects and presented their work at their final seminar, of July 18th.

Cohort 2
Our December cohort is 95 strong . Residents have participated in simulated experiences to hone clinical reasoning and build confidence. Evidence-based practice project work is beginning for this cohort, as they are about halfway done their residency year. We are looking forward to a celebration in December for Cohorts 1 & 2.

Cohort 3
Fifty-seven resident RNs make up cohort 3. Their seminars include enhancements suggested by our first two cohorts. One important addition is a full seminar devoted to evidence-based practice, to better support this important work.

Seminar Spotlight

Managing the Changing Patient Condition
As we continue our journey supporting and guiding our newly licensed St. Luke’s RNs, we have been paving the way through monthly seminars. Midway through the residents’ seminar year, the residents participate in our seminar dedicated to “Managing the Changing Patient Condition.” This seminar was put together by taking a team of our facilitators, made up of seasoned nurse educators and bedside nurses. Through much discussion regarding vital information needed to best provide care to patients experiencing changing conditions, the following topics are discussed during the seminar:

Respiratory care: The day begins with a review of respiratory care with a lecture provided by a Network Respiratory Therapist. Covering different oxygen delivery systems, the lecture is designed to reinforce clinical knowledge of registered nurses to better deal with patients’ declining respiratory statuses. Respiratory therapists work alongside nursing staff every day. The respiratory therapist fields many questions, helping our new nurses gain the confidence needed to provide the best possible respiratory support for our patients.

Rapid Sequence Intubation (RSI): During RSI topic review there is a presentation provided by Jill Williston, RN regarding the components of the RSI box and how to help prepare for patient intubation. Providing residents with knowledge regarding safe steps to patient intubation builds confidence and familiarity with components to provide excellent patient care.

Rapid Response: Residents are educated on the importance of utilizing the rapid response team if the patient’s condition is declining. Residents hear scenarios regarding a patient’s condition. Then, using critical thinking, the residents are asked what interventions might be appropriate to facilitate during the rapid response. Residents are able to share stories, reflect upon scenarios, and offer up advice they have learned in their short few months of nursing. Residents discuss appropriate criteria in which to call a rapid response.

Mock Code: During review of mock codes, our critical care nurses and educators review vital components during a code situation. Crash carts are provided to residents to review contents. RQI mannequins are provided to allow residents to practice proper hand placement for CPR, and bag masks to practice rescue breathing. Different cardiac rhythms and interventions are reviewed with residents by a simulator. Educators also review the standard use of our Life Pack device and how to properly use the machine in an emergency/code situation.

Neonatal/Maternal Mock Code and Rapid response: Maternal and newborn care is highly specialized. Neonatal care content is taught by our maternal/newborn educator, Liz Heist. Liz, from St. Luke’s Allentown Campus, teaches new maternal/newborn and pediatric nurse residents emergency responses for newly delivered mothers and new born infants. Mock situations are created utilizing creative supplies to display a realistic scene for our new RNs. Hands-on training in a safe supported environment ensure our nurses have the tools they need to best support families at this most vulnerable of times.

Failure to Rescue: This topic is presented by Sherry Casey, RN, nurse educator for St. Luke’s Allentown Campus. Sherry discusses the importance of early warning signs that might signal a patient’s declining status. Residents learn ways in which nurses and care team members can assess subtle changes in a patient that can indicate a declining status. Review of MEW scores and patients’ presentations. Statistics are also provided to residents regarding failure to rescue. Case studies are reviewed to display examples of declining patient status.

Sepsis: Diana Tarone from Network Quality presents the sepsis standards of care. The prevention of sepsis is of utmost importance during a patient’s hospital stay.

Learning to detect the early warning signs, or becoming aware of the proper treatment pathway for sepsis helps the residents provide excellent nursing care coordination. The EPIC nursing support team also reviews proper documentation using the SEPSIS navigator.

At the conclusion of the changing of patient condition seminar, the residents have provided amazing feedback with their appreciation of the education provided. Feedback from our current cohorts is that the Changing Patient Condition seminar should occur earlier in the seminar schedule. For future cohorts, we will present this important topic closer to the start of residents’ first year of clinical practice. Our goal for the new residents is to continue to support them as they gain knowledge during their first year of nursing. As we all know, nursing is a career of passion and ongoing education. By providing residents with as much practice, review and case studies of patients with potential changing conditions, we can continue to support our residents during their first year of immense growth and knowledge, ultimately leading to improving the quality of care provided to all of St. Luke’s patients.

Upcoming Seminars

Seminars are held in the Priscilla Payne Hurd Education Center at St Luke’s Bethlehem at 8 AM unless otherwise noted. Feel free to stop by to see what our residents are up to.

  • July 11: Patient teaching and Evidence-Based Practice
  • July 18: Cohort 1 Evidence-based Practice Project Presentations
                      Laros Auditorium
                      9 am — Noon
  • July 25: Pain management and End of Life
  • August 1: Culture and Ethics
  • August 15: Communication, Conflict & Conduct *Welcome Cohort 4*
  • August 22: Evidence-Based Practice
  • September 5: Seeking Certification & Advancing Education
  • September 19: Self-Care and Stress Management
  • September 26: Managing the Changing Patient Condition

Nurse Residency Milestones

Congratulations to our Residents and Facilitators on the following happy events and accomplishments:


  • Michelle Kanard, BSN
  • Stacey Kerschner, BSN
  • Charity Eck, MSN


  • Megan Derhammer
  • Emilee Wacendak

Growing Families Expecting

  • Rachel Hahn Keely Dreher
  • Ashley Sensinger

Career progression

  • Andrzej Przybylski—Critical Care Fellowship
  • Brittany Cunfer—transferring to SLB NICU
  • Meghan Derhammer—transferring to SLRA ED