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SLU Prepares Nurses to Go Back to Work


SLU’s nursing school is refreshing the skills of nurses hired by SSM Health who have taken some time away from nursing and want to return to their career.

“This is a win-win situation, as our profession needs these experienced nurses to return to direct patient care,” said Joanne Langan, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate education and pre-licensure programs in nursing.

“With the rapid changes in healthcare delivery, a review of practical skills allows inactive nurses to return to practice with confidence as safe and competent healthcare providers.”


SLU nursing faculty and students from SSM Health (in blue scrubs) are, from left, Joanne Langan, Ph.D., Joan Orso, Nancy Link, Nikki Rogers, LaQuisha Stith, Elizabeth Sellito, Regina May and Cindy Rubbelke, Ph.D.

SLU’s four-week program covers basic skills including head-to-toe assessment, medication administration, IV starts and drip calculations, simulation scenarios and content specific to the specialty areas of participants.

“We developed the course based on the results of state and national research I conducted with inactive nurses. I wanted to know why they left nursing and what it would take to get them to return to practice,” Langan said.

“The curriculum in our program is based on evidence of what nurses need to know to be successful.”

During their training through SLU, nurses receive practical experience on the floors where they are hired to work, under the supervision and mentorship of SLU nursing faculty. And, after the completion of the course, nurses begin their orientation as SSM Health employees. 

The RN Return to Practice continuing education program is growing. SLU piloted the program with SSM Health in spring 2017, refreshing the skills of two nurses, and five nurses graduated from the most recent class, in August. A full cohort of 10 SSM Health nurses is expected to start in early November, Langan said.