NYU College of Nursing Seniors Kimberly Mendez , Cindy Rivera and Rena Senisi share their student nurse externship experiences. Read their testimonials below:
My summer externship experience was at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases. The greatest benefits that I found with this externship program was that I was able to spend a lot more time in the hospital, and consequently get more exposure to patients as well as practice various nursing skills. I was paired with great preceptors who served as both teachers and mentors and who helped build my confidence as a nursing student. I was also able to view the dynamics of the hospital—something that I was not very familiar with before—and how interdisciplinary teams within it work together to try and deliver optimal patient care. From working 12 hour shifts, to floating on different floors and observing surgeries performed in the operating room, it felt almost as if I was a nurse already.
As rewarding as an externship is, the steps to getting there can seem a little intimidating. I mean, the interview is enough to make one really nervous! But do not fret, sometimes being nervous is what drives us to handle our time efficiently in order to give all the paperwork in on time ect.
The key is preparation. If you are looking to apply for an externship, make sure you find out about all the requirements needed. Polish your resume ahead of time and give your clinical instructors enough time to write your letters of recommendation. If you are struggling with cover letters or your resume like I did, use the resources available to you and go to the Wasserman Center and ask for assistance.
Again, the key is time management and preparation. Doing this in a timely manner will save you from experiencing too much stress. Do your research ahead of time and read about the many externship programs that are out there and apply to as many of the ones that you think will benefit you and that meet your interests. If you have questions that the website does not provide, call the nursing department and ask. Practice interview questions and provide answers that are unique and meaningful—do not give the nurse recruiter answers that you think they want to hear because chances are that they have heard those answers many times before. Have questions for them and simply be you!
This all may seem like hard work, but when you are enrolled in the program and are learning and being exposed to so many new things, you will see that it was all worth it in the end. Goodluck!
I got the opportunity to work as a nurse extern at Pathways to Housing through a program at NYU called The Urban Health Program. I received an e-mail, sent by The College of Nursing, with information about the externship. I emailed my resume and cover letter to Dr. Eaton, the program coordinator and within two weeks I received my acceptance letter. I then filled out an application with Pathways to Housing and attended a one day orientation. Pathways to Housing works with the mentally ill population who are homeless and in need of medical services as well as housing. As a nurse extern, I shadowed the RN and made home visits with her. Every home visit we would take vital signs and educated clients. Most of the home visits made consisted of education about medications and home safety. I loved interacting with the clients and learning about their life and diagnosis.
Tips: I recommend students to go to the Wasserman center to have them look over your resume and cover letters.
Participate and make the most out of your externship.
During winter intercession, I participated in an externship offered by NYUCN at Saratoga Hospital. It was an amazing experience. I gave my first subcutaneous injection with my preceptor, practiced on my body mechanics and techniques for moving patients, and I was able to experience what happens during a Joint commission visit.
I stayed in the snowy town of Saratoga for two weeks. In that time, I had five 12 hour shifts and 1 surgical rotation. It was really beneficial to experience what a 12 hour shift feels like since in nursing school we have 8 hour shift days.
The mornings usually went by faster than the afternoons which consisted of a lot of charting. The downtime in the afternoon was a perfect time for my preceptor to teach me how the charting system works in Saratoga. I got to put in my patient assessments in their electronic charting system which I also never got a chance to do in clinical.
Although, I was content with getting all this extra hands on experience, it was the environment of the hospital that really struck me. A great majority of the staff members got along really well with each other and had each other’s backs. If a nurse was busy in a patient’s room and another patient needed help, the nurse unassigned to the patient was more than glad to help her fellow busy team member. I do not really see this in New York city hospitals. Nurses that I have seen are either too busy or do not want to help their fellow team members. Also, the RN’s and nurse aides get along really well. Some RN’s feel it is only the nurse aides who should be doing the “dirty work” (helping patients to the bathroom, cleaning bedpans, etc.) and do not help their assigned nurse aid when they have some downtime and the nurse aid is busy.
Saratoga Hospital exemplifies what teamwork in hospitals should look like. The RN’s and MD’s have great communication and collaboration with each other as well. My favorite part of this externship was the overall atmosphere of Saratoga Hospital. The hospital had great support for their staff members, delivered high quality care, and was very receptive to students. This experience has allowed me to realize that these are the qualities I will be looking for in jobs as a future RN.
Don’t Forget: Health & Non-Profit Expo
Monday March 11th 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, The Wasserman Center
Meet and network with employers in your industry, gain career advice from professionals, and learn about full-time and internship opportunities. Bring copies of your resume, practice your pitch, and dress professionally!
To view the list of participating employers on NYU CareerNet, click here.