Nurse Extern Program Combines Learning and Career Support

Group of Nurse Externs

Nursing students discover new areas of interest with hands-on learning

Sheridyn Sommer is a Nurse Tech at Bethany Children’s who is participating in the Nurse Extern program this summer. The Nurse Extern Program is a nine-week, paid program that provides training and shadowing of positions throughout the Hospital for Nurse Techs and LPNs in RN programs, as well as nursing students going into their senior year of nursing school.

Sheridyn is in nursing school at Rose State College, and she has found that this program offers experiences in many different aspects of nursing. She has had the opportunity to work with and shadow different individuals in departments throughout the hospital, which has helped her discover areas of interest she may want to pursue after graduation.

“I have learned that there are many different roles that an RN can take on, ranging from working in direct patient care to working behind the scenes,” she shares. “Shadowing in the clinic has been my favorite part so far. This has broadened my experience because the duties of an RN in the clinic differ greatly from the duties of an RN working in complex care.”

Iesha Carter, a nursing student at Langston University (Oklahoma’s only historically black college or university), says that she has learned about a variety of roles for nurses at Bethany Children’s.

“I have learned that if you do not want to work bedside, you don’t have to,” she says. “We have been shadowing different departments, and I have seen that a nursing degree can open a lot of doors. Informatics is a field in nursing that no one really speaks about, but it interests me.”

Iesha appreciates the fact that the program allows her to shadow nurses in various roles who encourage questions in the learning process. She has also gained a deeper perspective from the nurses she has followed.

“Working with different individuals has shown me what purpose looks like,” she explains. “Everyone has a purpose in life. The children here have a purpose and the staff here are passionate about working here. It all ties together.”

Learning new technical skills can also be enlightening for the externs. Iesha says, “Learning the ins and outs of a baclofen pump, which delivers medication to the spinal canal, was so exciting for me. Learning everything from surgical insertion to the refill procedure was interesting.  I had never heard about this until the extern program.”

Being able to practice technical nursing skills has been valuable experience for Sheridyn, but she also values other aspects of learning in the program.

“One less technical skill I have learned about nursing is how important social skills are. Whether you are working with a patient or contacting a family or a provider, it is important to know how to speak with them,” she explains.

Sheridyn is looking forward to coming away with insights into the roles RNs play at Bethany Children’s.  

“I am interested in working at Bethany Children’s after I graduate, so it is nice to have an idea of what a day in the life will be like.”

Iesha agrees that the program offers valuable career support, with the opportunity to stay on at Bethany Children’s as a nurse tech and beyond. “I fell in love when I shadowed a nurse after my interview,” she admits. “I thought, ‘Wow, I can see myself working here as a nurse.’ Everyone here is so nice and loving. People really care and love their jobs!”

Bethany Children’s recognizes the value of hands-on learning and is committed to providing this unique learning opportunity and career support for nursing students through the Nurse Extern program each summer.

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