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Arizona Transition to Practice Program starts first cohort

New program aims to tackle Arizona’s severe nursing shortage


For Immediate Release | March 26, 2024

Media Contact: Dillon Rosenblatt | 602-445-4312 | [email protected]

Phoenix, Ariz. (March 26, 2024)
– The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) announced today that the first cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses has commenced.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state’s Medicaid agency, contracted with AzHHA to assist with the administration and implementation of this program. The goal of this program is to support and develop new nurses, provide evidence-based professional development, accelerate the novice nurse to a competent nurse more rapidly, and address resilience and emergency preparedness.

“With the launch of the Transition to Practice Program, Arizona is taking needed steps toward increasing the state’s nursing workforce capacity and competency as quickly as possible,” said Carmen Heredia, AHCCCS CEO. “Since AHCCCS covers more than a quarter of our state’s population, having a robust healthcare workforce is critical to our ability to deliver quality healthcare services.” 

The launch of this program is a critical step towards tackling Arizona’s nursing shortage.

“While it is important to increase the number of new nurses in the pipeline, it is also important to retain new nurses in their roles,” said Karen Ofafa, MPH, BSN, RN, CSSBB, CPHQ, director, Transition to Practice Program at AzHHA. “With this program, we aspire to create an environment where our nurses can transition seamlessly from academia to practice, gaining the confidence and competence they need to provide the best possible care to our communities.”

The first cohort of the program includes:

  • 30 new graduate nurses
  • 39 preceptors
  • 11 mentors
  • 10 participating facilities

“We’re excited to officially launch our first cohort, and we’re looking forward to supporting our new graduate nurses especially in critical access and rural areas of Arizona where they need this the most. Our goal is that our 12-month Arizona Transition to Practice Program will provide the support these new nurses need throughout their first year,” added Ofafa.

A limited number of new graduate nurses will be accepted per year into the program. Applications are currently open for the June 2024 cohort and due on Friday, April 12, 2024. Application details are available on AzHHA’s website at


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About the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

AzHHA is the association giving Arizona hospitals a voice to collectively build better healthcare and health for Arizonans. As the champion for healthcare leadership in Arizona, AzHHA and its member hospitals explore ideas and take collaborative action at the state capitol, in hospitals and at home to attain the best healthcare outcomes for our community. Above all else, we put people and patients first through Better Care, Better Health and Lower Costs. Visit for more information.