Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
New Brunswick • Somerset

Aspiring Nurses Complete Extern Program

August 19, 2010
Ten nursing students from surrounding communities recently gained clinical patient care experiences by participating in Somerset Medical Center’s Nurse Extern Program.

During the eight-week program, which concluded Aug. 3, each nurse extern was paired with one or two registered nurse preceptors, serving as mentors. The nurse externs learned clinical skills, such as recording patients’ vital signs, applying simple dressings for wounds, performing non-invasive procedures, monitoring patients’ intake and output, documenting in patients’ charts and administering medication. The nurse externs rotated among the medical center’s specialty units for Eating Disorders Unit, Cardiology Department, Community Health Department, Diabetes Center and Special Procedures Unit. They were also able to spend time with registered nurses in specialized roles for infection prevention, wound care and case management. 

“We are committed to promoting the professional growth and development of aspiring nurses throughout our community and have been proud to offer a summer nurse extern program for the past 17 years,” said Kathleen Cummins, MS, RN, APNC, ACNS- BC, Vice President of Nursing Operations at Somerset Medical Center. “The program provides an opportunity for nursing students to transition into the role of a nursing professional prior to graduation.”

“Each year we try to tailor the program to ensure that the nurse externs have a meaningful clinical experiences and are exposed to the realities of the profession in a no-pressure learning environment,” added Rhonda Lane, RN, nurse educator at Somerset Medical Center.

Nursing students who have completed at least two clinical courses and maintain a 3.0 grade point average in their nursing classes are eligible to participate in Somerset Medical Center’s Nurse Extern Program. 

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to be immersed in nursing beyond the classroom and clinical experiences,” said Dana Roberts, a nursing student at Raritan Valley Community College. “There are so many aspects of nursing that we as clinical students do not know, and having patient and knowledgeable preceptors gave me role models who embraced the qualities of a nurse that I hope to emulate.” 

For more information about the Nurse Extern Program at Somerset Medical Center, contact Connie Osinski, nurse recruiter, at 908-685-2812 or e-mail cosinski@somerset-healthcare.com.