Facilitating the Transition from Student to Professional Nurse

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jan A. Gatto, RN, BSN, MS
Nursing Education, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH

Learning Objective 1: identify the collaboarative roles of academic medical centers and colleges of nursing in preparing senior nursing students for the transition from student to professional.

Learning Objective 2: describe the benefits of a Nurse Externship Program to senior nursing students, the Medical Center, and the College of Nursing.

The transition from student to professional nurse has become more challenging with the additional education and technical training required to deliver safe and effective patient care in more complex clinical settings.  Bridging the gap between preparation and practice requires creativity and collaboration between medical centers and colleges of nursing.  The purpose of this poster is to describe the evidence-based program that addresses the socialization, clinical skills, and professional development required to prepare a new generation of nursing leaders for acute care practice.  The Ohio State University Medical Center and College of Nursing Nurse Externship Program provides rising senior nursing students with unique opportunities, within their clinical areas of interest, to work one-on-one with a registered nurse preceptor.  In addition, the weekly educational experiences for Nurse Externs include eight hours of interactive classroom / skills lab that results in three nursing elective credits.  Nurse Externs are introduced to the application of research-based evidence in nursing practice and the sharing of nursing information through participation in Nurse Externship Projects in which they explore how nursing practice issues are identified, the resources used by staff nurses to find research-based answers to practice questions, and the process used to facilitate evidence-based nursing practice.  Program outcomes demonstrate increased self-confidence, problem-solving, prioritization, and clinical decision-making skills reported by Nurse Externs, following program participation.  Medical Center nursing management and College of Nursing faculty reported satisfaction with the program.