This year was a year of firsts for the summer student nurse internship program at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. Twenty-five student nurse interns from nursing schools in New York and Pennsylvania participated in an intensive eight-week program. After a thorough classroom orientation, the interns received in-depth clinical experience with RN preceptors on med/surg and specialty units. The initial first was having the student interns work 12-hour shifts with their preceptors.From left, student nurse interns Jennifer Principe, Susan Hannigan and Catherine Maguire.
As in the past, the interns worked with the wound care nurse specialist and an IV team member. Among other firsts, many of the students participated in a National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators’ Prevalence study and had the opportunity to round with a rapid response RN. Students also met weekly post-conference to share their clinical experiences.
All of the interns acknowledged they gained confidence in their skills because of this opportunity and said it will help them with clinicals and their future careers.
For the first time, student interns worked on a nursing research project in collaboration with their clinical preceptor and nurse manager. Under the guidance of the program coordinators, medical librarian and research clinical nurse specialist, the interns worked in small groups based on their clinical assignment and focused on the early conceptual phase of a research study. They worked together to decide on a clinical nursing problem, did background reading on a chosen topic and wrote a problem statement and purpose for their study.From left, student nurse interns Katie Migunova, Erica Ostrow, Erin Burpoe and Christine Burd.
Each group identified interesting clinical problems to explore that would impact nursing practice, such as “The Impact of Infant Separation at Birth on Breast Feeding,” “How Noise Affects Hospitalized Patients’ Recovery” and “The Use of Respiratory Equipment and Occurrence of Pressure Ulcers.” The culmination of this work was the creation of a poster displayed at the student nurse intern graduation ceremony. Students were engaged with nursing staff viewing the posters and gained firsthand experience presenting a poster.
This closely supervised experience afforded students an understanding and appreciation of the reality of professional nursing practice in unit-based clinical practice settings, a broader view of the healthcare team and an introduction to conducting a clinical nursing research study. The students emerged with a greater comfort level and confidence in the clinical arena, found new friendships and made important connections.
Student nurse interns said the experience improved their confidence and will help them throughout their nursing careers. Many student nurse interns return in an expanded nurse assistant role while they complete their undergraduate education.