Hartford HealthCare at Home’s Immersion Program gives nursing grads career boost

September 19, 2017 By Hartford HealthCare

Hartford HealthCare at Home is invested in the best interests of new nursing graduates - even before they are hired. Kelsey Graham, RN, remembers hearing about the Career Ladder/Immersion Program when she was in her final semester at UConn in 2014. She knew the continued education, mentoring and opportunities for advancement would support her in experiencing a productive and fulfilling career in patient-centered care.

Kirsty & Allison
Kirsty McNulty, RN, BSN, right, a nurse care coordinator with Hartford HealthCare at Home, talks to Allison Hill, RN, about her clients during a meeting at the Hartford HealthCare at Home office in Mansfield. McNulty has been involved in the Nurse Immersion program which takes graduate nurses and teaches them nursing in the home care setting.  

For the first nine months of her employment as a field nurse with Hartford HealthCare at Home, Graham and other new graduates attended classes on topics including wound care, cardiac problems and other medical conditions they would likely encounter when making a home visit. The Immersion Program clinical development specialist accompanied the new nurses on their rotations at first to acclimate them for making the home calls on their own.

“I felt very prepared and comfortable in what I did,” which affirmed that she chose the right career, Graham said. “I love seeing people in their own homes.” She recently segued into the role of nurse care coordinator in Bloomfield and is pursuing her BSN degree. “I don’t know of other programs that supply career support like this,” she said.

The Career Ladder/Immersion Program is a person-centered role model that provides learning and development opportunities under the guidance of team-based care management. “Home health is a unique work setting in which nurses are required to utilize critical thinking and leverage resources because of the need to manage independently in the home environment,” explained Stacey Benham, OTD, OTR/L, manager of clinical education, Hartford HealthCare at Home. “This program nurtures newly graduated nurses and provides the tools to succeed and become confident and competent in home health nursing.”
Graduate nurses are often turned away by home care organizations until they have a certain amount of acute care experience. “Hartford HealthCare at Home views this as an opportunity to mentor and support new nurses in a community health setting, prepare our workforce for changes in the healthcare environment with the goal to keep patients out of the hospital and living safely at home as long as possible,” Benham said.

The concept appealed to Kirsty McNulty, RN, BSN, who always wanted to be a nurse. Upon being hired into the Career Ladder/Immersion Program, she soon realized she gained the foundation and encouragement to quickly advance in her career. Since she was hired two years ago by Hartford HealthCare at Home, her career track has taken her from immersion nurse and several other roles to nurse care coordinator in the Mansfield office in May.

“I really liked the fact that this program was specifically developed for new graduates,” McNulty said. Supervisors invested their time into working closely with immersion nurses to ensure they felt confident and comfortable in every aspect, she added.

“The goal is to produce novice primary care nurses that will be competent and confident to work in a home health setting. We strive to retain staff and fully integrate them into the clinical team,” Benham concluded.

To learn more about the Career Ladder/Immersion Program or to register for employment, visit https://hartfordhealthcareathome.org/for-job-seekers.

Hartford HealthCare At Home