Supporting future nurses starts before graduation. For the past five years, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center has welcomed future nurses, all registered CNAs entering their senior year of nursing school, to apply for a nurse externship. For 10 weeks each summer, 20 externs selected from a pool of applicants, spend time at the Medical Center advancing their nursing skills.

These students build clinical skills, advance their critical thinking abilities, and improve time management capabilities. They walk in the shoes of nurses on different patient units to experience workflow; interact with patients, families, physicians, and other team members; and develop collaborative relationships with multidisciplinary teams. They participate in group projects with other members of the healthcare team to accomplish a common goal and develop their leadership skills.

“We are excited to partner with students in our community to offer this program. These externs are passionate about nursing and eager to experience the role of the nurse in a variety of clinical settings,” says Sandy Benton, MSN, RN, CCRN, manager, nursing and clinical education.