Plattsburgh, New York – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh is helping nurses that have just graduated make the transition to full-time positions, while also helping address the workforce shortage issue across the healthcare industry.

The Designated Orientation Unit, or DOU is starting its second year, and 31 newly gronurses are set to start the program this year. Associate Chief Nursing Officer Carly Haag says the hospital developed the program after they acknowledged graduate nurses needed support.

“The DOU concept was, let’s bring everybody to one central area in the organization so we can give them the same type of learning experience and also be on the lookout for those experiences in that group,” Haag said.

After spending 2-4 weeks in the DOU, nurses are then transitioned into their core units where they will finish their orientation. 

Willa McKinley was part of the DOU last year and is now a registered nurse at CVPH. McKinley says her experience in the program was extremely important to her career.

“What was really beneficial for us as new grads is that it’s a whole bunch of new grads. It’s not just me doing it with my preceptor,” she said. “There are 5 or 6 new grad nurses on the floor at any given time so we learn things together, we go through struggles together, we celebrate successes together.”

McKinley said she didn’t plan on working at CVPH after graduating from Clinton Community College, but found that the support offered was too good to pass up.

“I actually took a job at a different hospital, in a different state, and all of the feedback that I got from people who started at that hospital was that you’re completely lost,” she said. “I did not find that here at CVPH — the community is really strong, really tight-knit.”