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New Grad RN Program

Nurse Mentoring

Grow into your nursing career with support from Rush Copley’s START Program, a residency program for new graduate nurses. You’ll benefit from a welcoming environment, specialized education and training, a dedicated mentor and more as you make the transition from student to professional nurse.


You can feel confident that you’ll find the tools, training and support you need 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 guide you through your first months as a registered nurse so you can confidently provide safe, high-quality patient care. After a comprehensive orientation, you’ll 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

Gain from the professional knowledge of experienced clinical nurse educators as you learn about:
  • Conflict management
  • Critical thinking
  • Delegation
  • Disease processes
  • Engagement
  • Professional accountability
  • Time management
  • Many other topics and activities

Nurse Mentorship

Build a relationship with a nurse you admire through our mentorship program. You’ll benefit from his or her perspective, feedback and encouragement as you meet regularly throughout your 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?

You’re eligible to apply for a position in Rush Copley’s new graduate nurse program if you:

  • 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

If you’re selected as a prospective candidate, we’ll ask you to submit a portfolio that highlights your professional goals and accomplishments. Your portfolio should include:

  • Resume
  • Official college transcript(s)
  • Academic credentials, such as copies of your nursing degree
  • Your RN license or National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass confirmation or NCLEX test date
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from clinical instructors and/or managers
  • 500-word essay explaining why you should be chosen for the START Program

Your portfolio will be due one week after we contact you, so it’s a good idea to begin assembling it early.