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New Grad RN Program

New grads are able to grow into their nursing career with support from Rush Copley’s START Program, a residency program for new graduate nurses. Benefits include a welcoming environment, specialized education and training, a dedicated mentor and more as grads make the transition from student to professional nurse.


New grads can feel confident that they'll find the tools, training and support needed to bridge the gap between theory and practice in our nurse residency program—it’s in the name. START stands for:

  • Skill Development
  • Thinking critically
  • Applying evidence to the bedside
  • Resource utilization and support
  • Transitioning into nursing practice

Take a look at our track record: 87 percent of new graduate nurses who join our START program stay here for their entire first year; 62 percent stay at least four years.

What to Expect in the START Program

Count on our dedicated preceptors and clinical nurse educators to be a guide through the first months as a registered nurse so new grads can confidently provide safe, high-quality patient care. After a comprehensive orientation, they will participate in:

  • 32 hours of classroom instruction
  • Hands-on, risk-free training in our Simulation, Training and Resource (STAR) Center
  • Approximately eight weeks working closely with a nurse preceptor in a medical-surgical unit (up to 16 weeks if working in a specialty unit)
  • Regular support sessions with unit preceptor/clinical nurse educators and clinical nurse managers
  • A nursing project and poster presentation
  • Lunch with the chief nursing officer and other nursing leaders
  • Year long mentoring program

Nurse Residency Curriculum

New grads will gain from the professional knowledge of experienced clinical nurse educators about:
  • Conflict management
  • Critical thinking
  • Delegation
  • Disease processes
  • Engagement
  • Professional accountability
  • Time management
  • Many other topics and activities

Nurse Mentorship

New grads build a relationship with a nurse they admire through our mentorship program. They benefit from his or her perspective, feedback and encouragement during meet regularly throughout the first year at Rush Copley. Find a mentor at our speed networking event, which includes nurses from across the organization who’ve volunteered to become mentors and undergone special training.

Who Can Be a START Nurse?

Requirements to apply for a position in Rush Copley’s new graduate nurse include:

  • Recently graduated from an accredited RN program with a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or above
  • Have less than one year of acute care experience
  • Have or will have your Illinois nursing license at least two weeks before the program begins

A bachelor of science (BSN) degree is preferred, but not required. If you’re accepted into the program with an associate’s degree, you’ll be expected to earn a BSN within five years. Learn about how Rush Copley supports your educational advancement.

How To Apply as a New Graduate Nurse

To find the job listing for the START Program at Rush Copley, view our current job opportunities and enter "new grad RN" in the keyword search box.

Sessions start in March and August of each year. Applications are accepted year-round.

Nursing Portfolio

New grads who are selected as a prospective candidate will be asked to submit a portfolio that highlights their professional goals and accomplishments. The portfolio may include:

  • Resume
  • College transcript(s)
  • Professional credentials, such as copies of your nursing degree, CPR card, etc.
  • RN license or National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass confirmation or NCLEX test date
  • 500-word essay explaining why you should be chosen for the START Program
  • References are submitted separately online and must include at least three Clinical Instructors

Accreditation with Distinction Statement

The Rush Copley START Nurse Residency Program is accredited with distinction as a Practice Transition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation in Practice Transition Programs.

The current sites included in this accreditation with distinction designation are: Copley Memorial Hospital (Rush Copley).

The current workplace settings included in this accreditation with distinction designation are:

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Neuroscience Unit (NSU
  • Emergency Department (ED)
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Obstetrics
  • Medical Surgical Units (MS1, MS2)
  • Orthopedics/Neurology/Pediatrics (ONP)
  • Intermediate Care Unit (ICA)
  • Labor and Delivery (L&D)
  • Acute Rehab (PMR)