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Nursing - Graduate Nurse Residencies

Graduate nurse residencies are offered three times a year, in February, July and October. This year-long program is designed for new BSN graduates who are licensed as an RN before the start date of the program. It facilitates the transition from student to professional nurse using a myriad of educational techniques, including an RN preceptor who provides support, encouragement and expertise. Participants are required to attend monthly, four-hour seminars and educational opportunities.

Contact us

To speak with a nurse recruiter, contact Ryan Hartnett at

717-531-8696, or

Photo of two nurses discussion content that is displayed on a computer screen

We are currently accepting applications for our February 2018 and July 2018 Residency Programs.

Please visit our careers page and apply to Job #7610.

The residency is a full-time nursing position that transitions seamlessly into a full-time staff nurse position. Full pay and benefits are effective the first day of hire. Graduate nurse residents are expected to remain full-time on one unit for the entire year of the program, as well as actively participate in all learning opportunities that are offered. Only then can a transfer to another unit be considered. 

Frequently asked questions about Graduate Nurse Residency

General Graduate Nurse Residency questions

Is this a paid nurse residency?
Yes. At Hershey Medical Center, all graduate nurse residents are selected to fill permanent staff nurse positions on the hiring unit. You will receive a full RN salary and comprehensive benefits beginning the day you start new employee orientation.

What shift will I be working?
You will most likely be assigned to a full-time night-shift rotation. Once the orientation period is complete (12 to 20 weeks), you will be able to apply to open positions on your unit. Your full-time status must be maintained for one full year.

I already have my RN license. Must I complete a nurse residency in order to be hired at Hershey Medical Center?
Yes, all new graduates without experience are required to be licensed and complete our Graduate Nurse Residency program. However, if you have a minimum six months of hospital acute care RN experience, you can apply for a staff nurse position and potentially be hired without the residency.

What happens if I fail boards before the residency begins?
Unfortunately, our policy states that you will not be eligible for a current position.
Is there a minimum GPA for acceptance?
Because the residency is an extension of the studying/learning experience, a GPA of 3.0 and higher is preferred.

Is a BSN required in order to be hired as a Graduate Nurse Resident?
Yes. You must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing prior to the start date of the Graduate Nurse Residency program.

If you are a current employee, you may apply to our Graduate Nurse Residency Program but you must enroll and complete your BSN within 6 months.

Questions about our units

Should I apply to staff nurse jobs on the units that interest me?
No. You will apply to just one position: the Graduate Nurse Residency. When you apply to the Graduate Nurse Residency program, you will have an opportunity to state your areas of interest during the process.

If I am offered and accept a position, may I transfer to another unit when another position opens up?
The expectation is clear that a graduate nurse resident must remain on the hiring unit for at least the full year of the residency. If you are interested in transferring at the end of the program, you may apply online as an internal employee.
Will I know which units are hiring and how many positions they will have?
No. Our staffing needs are fluid and the exact number of available positions is not established until later in the process.

To how many units will my portfolio be sent?
Your completed portfolio will be viewable to every hiring manager.
How will I know what type of patients the different units specialize in, and which units interest me most?
View unit descriptions

Questions regarding the application process

Besides completing the online application, what else do I need to do?
Once your application is submitted, you are required to submit your professional portfolio and an electronic reference check called Checkster. 

The professional portfolio includes:

  • Resume  Include all education and experience, including dates.
  • Cover letter  Start with “Dear Nurse Manager,” and introduce yourself and your goals.
  • Unofficial transcript  This can be found on your school's website. 
  • Clinical narrative  View an example of a clinical narrative. Your narrative will be most beneficial if you write about a specialty where you hope to interview.

Do I need written references from my professors?
No. We use a company called Checkster to perform electronic reference checks. You will be guided through the process 

Questions about interviewing for the Graduate Nurse Residency

Will I be granted an interview in the unit or specialty I have indicated?
We attempt to schedule interviews with specific nurse managers. However, some specialties are more popular than others and being granted an interview in those areas may be more challenging.

Do you provide relocation assistance if I am hired?
Interviewing expenses and relocation costs are not reimbursed.

What can I do to prepare for the interview?
Research Hershey Medical Center and the nursing unit. Dress professionally, preferably in a suit.

When will selections be made?
Selections will be made after all interviews are complete.

Graduate Nurse Residency specialty areas

Graduate nurses in our Nurse Residency program may work in one of these areas:

  • Acute Care – 12-14 weeks of orientation 
    • 3 South Addition West 
    • 4 Acute Care – Ortho/ENT/Urology/Plastics
    • 5 Acute Care Surgical
    • 6 Acute Care Medical
  • Intensive/Critical Care – 20 weeks of orientation 
    • Medical Intensive Care Unit
    • Surgical Intensive Care Unit
    • Heart and Vascular Institute Critical Care Unit
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
    • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Intermediate Care – 14 weeks of orientation 
    • Medical Intermediate Care Unit
    • Surgical Intermediate Care Unit
    • Heart and Vascular Progressive Care Unit
    • Pediatric Intermediate Care Unit
  • Other 
    • Neuroscience Critical Care Unit - 20 weeks of orientation
    • Pediatrics Acute Care 14 weeks of orientation
    • Pediatric Oncology  14 weeks of orientation
    • Penn State Cancer Institute (inpatient) 14 weeks of orientation
    • Women's Health 14 weeks of orientation
    • Pediatric Oncology Outpatient Infusion - to be determined
  • Perioperative Orientation Course – 45 weeks of orientation
  • Emergency Department

Creating a portfolio

Once you complete the application, you may submit (via PDF attachments) your professional portfolio, which will include:

  • Cover letter  Begin with “Dear Nurse Manager,” and introduce yourself and your goals.
  • Resume  Include all education and experience, including dates.
  • Unofficial transcript  Obtained from your school’s website 
  • Clinical narrative  See instructions for a clinical narrative

For the quickest and most accurate result, please convert each document to PDF format, and attach them all to an email addressed to

Your email should include four documents attached and labeled in the following format (include the letters a, b, c, and d):

a- cover letter – Last name, first name

b- resume – Last name, first name

c- transcript – Last name, first name

d- narrative – Last name, first name

To speak with a nurse recruiter, contact Ryan Hartnett at 717-531-8696, or

How to write your clinical narrative

Don't underestimate the power of this document

Patricia Benner, PhD, RN, believes that evaluation of practice is best done through narratives because they describe the practice within a context. The quality of care delivered is best judged with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding that care. The goal of a narrative is to visualize nursing practice.

With that in mind, the following dialogue was developed to assist you in writing your own narrative.

What is a clinical narrative?
A clinical narrative is a written statement of actual nursing practice. It is a story of how you provided care for a patient and family. This could be how you prepared a patient and/or family for something that changed their lifestyle when they return home, such as an amputation. Or it could be how you helped a young couple prepare for the eventual death of their two-year-old with leukemia.

Your narrative is the story of a patient care situation that is meaningful to you. It is one that caused you to reflect on your practice, and may continue to influence your practice as you confront similar situations. It is a good example of how your care made a difference in the outcome of a particular patient/family. You might say that you have grown in your professional practice as a result of this experience, that the relationship and interventions you shared reinforced what you already believed.

What is the purpose of a clinical narrative?
Simply stated, the purpose of a clinical narrative is to articulate nursing and to make your practice visible. The purpose is also to see the growth and development you have made over time. This narrative assists you in reflecting on your practice.

What should I write about my practice?
Often nurses are not aware of their contributions to the care of the patient and family. They may not see missed opportunities or ways a situation could have been handled differently.

By writing about an experience and sharing it with your peers, you can see your own growth as a professional. You also receive direction for broadening your clinical practice. Writing about your clinical practice helps you reflect on that practice and relate experience to patient care situations in the future. It also brings to light the skills you currently possess.

How do I begin to write this clinical narrative?
Think of your most recent group of patients (maybe a primary patient). What did you do that you remember? This can be a patient that you cared for yesterday, last week or within the past year. How did you interact with that patient? Your narrative does not have to be one that involved a life-threatening situation. Choose one that involves your relationship with a patient and family. What did you and the patient plan for his or her care? Why did you make the choices you did? Write as though you are trying to have someone understand your practice.

Should I write my narrative using the word “I”?
Yes. This must be a first person narrative. It is always difficult to write about ourselves, but to describe your practice you have to think in terms of yourself. You are the one who made the difference, so talk about it and use the word "I."

What should I do after I select a patient to write about?
Sit down in a quiet place and write your story:

  1. Set the scene – let the reader visualize your patient and the situation. Write one or two opening paragraphs.
  2. Involve yourself early on in this scene.
  3. Tell what you did, what you thought about and why you made the choices you did. Write two or three sentences. The assessment should be ongoing, based on feedback during the intervention with the patient and family.
  4.  As with any story, there is a beginning and an end. The reader should know what happened as a result of your intervention, and what this whole experience means to your practice or says to you about your practice.

As you proceed with the story, talk about your role with this patient, your assessment of the care that was needed, the care you gave (your intervention), how you involved the patient and family and the advocacy role you played with the patient. Include the reason(s) why you made the choices you did. What was your thought process? Talk about how you mobilized your resources or extended your intervention outside the hospital. As you write the narrative, you will realize how your care influenced the patient's outcome.

Penn State Health Children's Hospital
Penn State College of Medicine
Penn State Cancer Institute
Penn State University