Summer Nursing Experience focuses on nursing profession
This summer, a group of Millikin University student nurses engaged in a six-week course designed to help students to "think like a nurse." Throughout the experience, the students were involved in case studies and simulations where they worked with nursing mannequins. The students were able to practice and think through scenarios that could potentially be life-threatening for the patient.
Additionally, the students took part in an internship program at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, Ill., during which student nurses were assigned to different departments in rotation to help them choose where they'd prefer to work.
In a recent interview with the Herald & Review, student Samantha Siltman, of Clinton, Ill., said "For the first part of the internship, I was in the emergency room. First day, I wasn't sure what to expect or what I was getting myself into. But I fell in love the first day I was down there. I saw so much, everything from pediatrics to geriatrics."
Siltman added, "You see trauma, you see minor scrapes and cuts and everything in between. It's very fast-paced. You have to constantly use your critical thinking skills."
During the program, students work 32-40 hours a week with local area hospitals and agencies where they explore specialty units that they may not have been exposed to during their other clinical courses. Students are also able to develop mentor relationships with experienced nurses and develop a professional network.
"Our colleagues really enjoy it," said Bridget Harrison, clinical nurse manager at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital. "We also have interns that are hired for St. Mary's as well. Many of the interns will stay on with us and work as nurse techs until graduation. A nurse tech is the equivalent of a certified nurse assistant, and they assist the nurses on the health care team."
Jessica DeLaVergne of Plainfield, Ill., transferred to Millikin because of the smaller campus and class sizes. She worked in obstetrics and in intermediate care, where there were several cardiac patients.
"The reason I chose intermediate care was the cardiac patients. I really relate to cardiac a lot. Some of my family members have had cardiac issues, and I spent a lot of time around the nurses, and I really like the way the heart works," DeLaVergne said.
DeLaVergne says the students are paired with preceptors as part of their clinical experience where they work the same schedule. "Recently I was involved with a code blue (medical emergency) and it was a situation where I didn't have the opportunity to learn about it during class, but I was able to experience it in a real-life clinical situation. The program is helping me become more confident in myself."