LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Lafayette General Medical Center will begin the state's first nurse residency program in the spring.

Lafayette General Health spokeswoman Becki Benoit tells The Advocate that the yearlong residency program will begin in March to allow time for new nursing graduates to take their state licensing exams. A second group will be admitted to the program in May 2016.

Benoit says the program is meant to provide newly licensed registered nurses additional education and support as they begin their careers.

The program will start at Lafayette General Medical Center and may expand to other hospitals in its network.

Benoit says the program is the only one in the state recognized by the University Health System Consortium and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.