135 - Externship to Employment: Stitching up a Successful Recruitment for Future Nurses
Description: This reflective analysis of the 2019 summer nurse externship at an urban hospital in Western Pennsylvania was conducted by a team of six aspiring nurses employed as perioperative nurse externs. Throughout the program, which consisted of six and ten week rotations, nurse externs followed a preceptor within the perioperative clinical environment to learn and perform daily tasks that a registered nurse is expected to perform after graduation. The externs were required to have completed at least one year of clinical experience and be entering their final year of nursing school. Perioperative experiences included the operating room, pre-operative services, post-anesthesia, gastrointestinal procedures, pain clinic, sterile processing, and nurse anesthesia. The externs involved in this analysis are representatives of different programs from various accredited universities. The perioperative nurse externs met consistently throughout the program to debrief and share ideas. During one of the scheduled didactic classes early on in the program, externs were introduced to professional organizations such as The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and The American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN). The idea of a perioperative reflection was discussed. The externs wanted to identify and establish the positive and negative aspects of the program as it relates to their potential retention as graduate nurses after completion of their degrees. The plan was to create a visual representation of our experiences and to suggest improvements to the existing program for next year's participants. The perioperative nurse externs created a short but conclusive four question survey, including an area for comments or concerns regarding the externship. The externs set out to collect responses of other externs from each unit in the hospital. Results were tallied and organized to expose the main strengths and weaknesses. The data collected demonstrated that the externship was influential to the majority of externs and that they were interested in staying with the organization upon graduation. Surveys displayed the key factors that made the externship favorable or unfavorable. The reflection allowed us to suggest changes to program organization, communication, attitude, and staff that would increase retention rates, not solely among externs, but hospital staff and potentially nationwide. This project will suggest changes to current culture and practices as well as reinforce positive characteristics of perioperative areas. This reflective analysis of the program seeks to provide educational insight for leadership to consider and nursing students to weigh the value of an externship. Survey results collected during the 8th and 9th weeks of the externship communicate that despite the strengths and weaknesses of the program, 100% of externs said they had intentions of pursuing a job at this hospital upon graduation.
Co-Authors: Kyra Savrese, Ngocthanh Ho, Taylor BreanneIrons, Morgan Bittinger, Alexis Oakes