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Arizona Transition to Practice Program starts second cohort

Program aims to tackle Arizona’s severe nursing shortage


For Immediate Release | June 25, 2024
Media Contact: Holly Ward | 602-445-4327 | [email protected]

Phoenix, Ariz. (June 25, 2024)
– The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) announced today that the second cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program for New Graduate Registered Nurses has commenced.

The Arizona Transition Practice Program supports and develops new nurses, provides evidence-based professional development, accelerates the novice nurse to a competent nurse more rapidly, and addresses resilience and emergency preparedness.

“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,” said Karen Ofafa, MPH, BSN, RN, CSSBB, CPHQ, director, Transition to Practice Program at AzHHA. “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. This is the first program that promotes the overall retention of nurses statewide.”

The second cohort of the program includes:

  • 40 new graduate nurses
  • 38 preceptors
  • 9 mentors
  • 10 participating facilities

“The detailed curriculum and training provided by the Arizona Transition to Practice Program has exceeded my expectations,” said Kristin Grimes, MSN, RN, CIC, assistant nurse manager at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center and site champion for the Arizona Transition to Practice Program. “Through generous support from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, our new graduate nurses at Mount Graham Regional Medical Center have been able to participate in an innovative, specialized program that not only provides evidence-based practice education among various learning styles, but also collaboration within a network of hospital agencies. In just a few short months, our new grads have already demonstrated increased knowledge, confidence and collaboration in the workplace. The program has already proven valuable for our group of nurses in the first cohort, and we’re moving forward with another group that has just started with the second cohort. I would absolutely recommend this program to other facilities who are looking for an in-depth program for their new graduate nurses.”   

“We’re excited to launch our second cohort which expands our pool of new graduate nurses with a focus on critical access and rural areas of Arizona where they need this support the most,” added Ofafa. “We are diligently working to bring on additional facilities throughout the state which will allow us to expand our reach and support more new nurses throughout their first year of practice.”

The first cohort of the Arizona Transition to Practice Program began on Monday, March 25, 2024. The cohort includes 30 new graduate nurses, 39 preceptors, 11 mentors and 10 participating facilities. Learn more.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) contracted with AzHHA to assist with the administration of this program. A limited number of new graduate nurses are accepted per year into the program. Applications are currently open for the September 2024 cohort and are due on Sunday, June 30, 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.