GEMS Nursing Program at Stamford Hospital - Nursing Blogs - Stamford Health

Published on March 29, 2018

Graduate: Engaged Mastering Succeeding (GEMS)

Medical Students

The GEMS program is composed of multiple cohorts throughout the year. The size of each cohort varies based on the hiring needs of the organization. We receive a wide variety of applicants from all over the country with varying level of degrees. The minimum requirement to apply is a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and less than 12 months of nursing experience. The GEMS program is a 12 months program that consists of 14 weeks of orientation. The first 2 weeks are in the classroom followed by 12 weeks on the unit with a preceptor. In addition, the program comprises of quarterly debriefing sessions throughout the first year. These sessions provide opportunities for support and professional development. The end of the first year is marked by a formal graduation ceremony.

The group meets weekly to discuss progress as well as receive additional education on topics such as delegation, time management and prioritization. This is a safe space where GEMS can talk freely and without judgment. The group meetings offer peer support and allows the opportunity for discussion of issues related to transition of practice. The weekly debriefings also facilitate dialogue and allows the participants to reflect on their clinical practice and growth.

Another great aspect of the GEMS program is the shadowing experiences that happen in the first few weeks of orientation. Each GEM has the opportunity to shadow in different departments and with different clinicians to help them learn new skills. In addition, there may be other shadowing experiences that are appropriate for a specific unit. For example, the GEMS placed on our surgical units will go to the OR and observe surgeries and spend a few hours in the PACU. Cardiology GEMS will go to the Cath Lab for a day.
Every GEM is well supported not only by the GEMS coordinator but also by their preceptors, Nurse Educators and Nurse Managers. The program includes a structured evaluation process that allows the GEMS to receive timely and relevant feedback to help them transition into a competent professional nurse. In addition, each GEM is also assigned a peer buddy/mentor who serves as an additional resource to help support their transition and social enculturation into the organization.

Competition is fierce! We typically receive hundreds of applications for each cycle! Our GEMS come from all walks of life. While some are right out of undergrad, we also hire GEMS who have made nursing a second career. Stamford hospital supports career growth within the organization. We have promoted many of our Clinical Assistants to GEMS and several of our GEMS graduates have been promoted into roles of leadership. Everyone has something special to offer and we look forward to seeing how all of our GEMS contribute to the success of Stamford Hospital.

“The GEMS program allowed me to transition from the student nurse to professional nurse smoothly. Throughout the transition I was supported by the GEMS coordinators and my co-workers on the unit. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of the program” - Erica Valentine (Former GEM)

"At Stamford Hospital I have had the opportunity to grow professionally throughout different nursing roles—from Clinical Assistant to ED Tech, and now as a graduate GEMS RN. The GEMS program facilitated my last transition, especially because of the guidance and support that I received from my preceptor. I'm grateful to be part of this organization and plan to continue growing as a professional RN in the critical care area." – Milena Tuta – Pachon (Former GEM)