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Residency Programs

Michelle Duay

Michelle Duay, nurse residency program

What attracted you to pursue a residency program?

I wanted to find a program that would foster my development and teach me more about the specific course of nursing I was wanting to pursue. I want to be a nurse in an ICU, which can seem like an impossible task, since most ICU units want experienced nurses. So I was hired at Palmetto Health as a Critical Care Nurse Resident. I had the same orientation and core classes taught to all newly hired nurses, such as charting, policies, procedures, and basic core type classes. After completion of the core classes, the classes became more intense. Each system was retaught in a way that pertains to what I would be seeing in the ICU setting. Also mixed in are classes on simulation, leadership, special populations, pharmacology ICU-specific, and more. This program has taught me many things regarding ICU specific care from titrating pressures, to understanding vent settings, to recognizing and being more prepared for code situations, and especially how to become a nurse fully capable of handling a higher acuity of patient. 

How did you prepare for a Residency Program and Critical Care Nursing?...

I searched for many different residency programs. Many new grads are hired into a resident title without the actual program and education that I felt should come with that. So I searched for programs that were education heavy and very supportive of their nurses, and in which I would be followed for over a year. In the residency program I finally selected, the classroom portion took 16 weeks. This program also allowed me to visit many different critical care units, working side-by-side with nurses from these units. I could get a feel for each unit, and this provided hands-on education. Typically, this program has one week of classroom material followed by one week on a unit. The units I have been able to work on include:

  • Baptist ICU (the only ICU at Palmetto Health Baptist hospital)

  • Cardiac Care Unit (CCU)

  • Cardiovascular ICU (CVI) at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital

  • Surgical/Trauma ICU (STICU)

  • Surgical Step-down Unit (SSU)

  • Medical ICU (MICU)

  • Neurosciences ICU (NSI)) at Palmetto Health Richland

What is your favorite aspect of the Residency Program?

I absolutely love the units I have worked on. Each has had such different aspects and patient populations. It has been very beneficial to see what the unit dynamic is like before I must choose which unit will become my home unit. After I visited each unit, I ranked them according to my first choice. I then interview for the top 3 choices.

What is the biggest challenge in a Residency Program?

The week sitting in classes is the biggest challenge in this residency program. Although very important material is covered in the classes, it is still difficult to sit there. On the units, it's challenging to adapt to the different way things are run and the expectations for each unit. And then there's the emphasis each of the physicians make on his/her own priorities of care. It's all the same hospital system, but each unit is run by different managers with input from a different set of physicians.

A little about Michelle Duay

We asked Duay if she had one favorite memory about being in UW Nursing's program: "Starting my first successful IV was the most exciting thing ever! I think it might still be one of my favorite skills. I feel that with time and lots of practice, I have became very skilled in this area. (I still miss, but I always take advantage of the opportunity to try!) This may be the biggest thing: never pass on the chance to try out a skill. Watch in once, then take the lead."


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