Authors

  1. Ruth-Sahd, Lisa A. DEd, RN, CEN, CCRN
  2. Beck, Julie DEd, RN, CNE
  3. McCall, Carol RN

Article Content

Summer nurse externship programs in acute care facilities are flourishing across the United States. Many student nurses participate in externship programs as a way to augment their clinical experience in school, thereby easing the gap between school and the real world of nursing practice. The purpose of this descriptive qualitative research study is to examine the reflective feedback from 79 nurse externs to gain an understanding about the nature of transformative learning during a summer externship program. Examining outcomes of externship programs assists nursing educators, practitioners, and administrators to understand the full dimension of these programs. Nurse externs from baccalaureate, associate, and diploma nursing programs participated in an 8-week externship program at a large, inner-city trauma hospital in the northeastern United States. Data collection was ongoing throughout the externship through individual discussions with each extern and faculty member using a combination of focus group discussions at the midpoint of the externship and using reflective surveys immediately following the externship experience. Findings indicated that personal reflection shed light on how student externs transformed their perceptions, values, and beliefs as a result of the externship program. Three themes emerged from the analysis of the findings: (1) affirming assumptions, (2) validating values, and (3) banishing some core beliefs. The results suggest implications for nursing education, practice, and research.

 

Submitted by:

 

Lisa A. Ruth-Sahd, DEd, RN, CEN, CCRN

 

Extern Faculty Coordinator

 

Associate Professor of Nursing

 

York College of Pennsylvania

 

York, PA 17405-7199

 

lsadh@ycp.edu

 

Dr Ruth-Sahd is a consultant with Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing.

 

Julie Beck, DEd, RN, CNE

 

Extern Faculty Member

 

Staff Nurse, Intensive Care Unit

 

jabeck@ycp.edu

 

Carol McCall, RN

 

Nurse Recruiter

 

Lancaster General Hospital

 

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

 

csmccall@lancastergeneral.org