Saturday, August 3, 2013

My Experience As An Extern

I'd like to take a moment if I can and talk about how wonderful my experience as a nurse extern at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was in hopes that it will encourage many of you juniors to apply this fall when the application opens up.

A typical week as an extern included working three 12-hour shifts in my home department and shadowing for four hours on another unit. My externship allowed me to rotate through two different units. I started in the Emergency Department (ED) where I learned about triage, prioritization, focused assessments, and caring for high-acuity patients. As a Nurse Aide (NA) II in the ED, I was able to sharpen my skills base and grow in knowledge about how trauma, sepsis, burns, strokes, and MIs are treated.  

During my second rotation on the General Medicine unit, I was able to care for four to six patients at a time as their primary NA. This opportunity refined my ability to prioritize, multitask, communicate, and perform NA I and II skills. Because I was often able to care for the same patients two or three days in a row, I had the opportunity to get to know my patients as well as see them improve from one day to the next. 

During my externship I was also able to shadow nurses in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit (TICU), Pediatric ED, Cath Lab, AirCare, Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Rapid Response Team, Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), and Hospitalist Service. Each opportunity taught me something new about nursing and gave me new knowledge about disease processes and treatment pathways. 

I cannot express in one post the magnitude of all that I learned as a nurse extern nor express my gratitude for the friendships I developed with my coworkers. I can only encourage the next class to apply to the nurse externships in your area. If you have specific questions, please leave a comment. I'd love to aid you on your journey to success as a nursing student and a future nurse!

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