Outcomes of Participation in a Nurse Externship Program

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Lourdes Maria Casao, PhD, RN-BC, FNP
Education Department, Citrus Valley Health Partners, Covina, CA, USA

Introduction.Nurse externship programs were initially developed by healthcare institutions as a recruitment tool for new nurses. Literature has demonstrated the positive outcomes of the program on the participants and healthcare institutions but during times of economic difficulties, health care institutions discontinue the program. A literature review revealed the studies that demonstrate the value of the program are limited to the recruitment phase and the 2-year retention of the newly graduated nurses. A recent research study demonstrated the long-term outcomes of the program relative to RN retention over 5 years and adherence to quality indicators. More importantly the research found a negative correlation between participation in a nurse externship program and extension of unit based orientation. The average number of hours of extension was also identified thereby leading to the development of a return on investment formula for the program.

Purpose. The purpose of this learning activity is to present the results of the recent study along with practical ways to utilize the findings in developing, implementing, sustaining, evaluating the outcomes and improving nurse externship programs.


  1. The research study presentation
    1. Background
    2. Research questions
    3. Research aims
    4. Study methodology
    5. Findings
    6. Practical use of the findings
  2. How to establish a nurse externship program presentation
    1. Identify and getting the buy in of key stake holders
      1.  Healthcare institutions
        1. Leaders
        2. Preceptors
        3. Patients
      2.  Academic institutions
        1. Faculty
        2. Nursing students
      3.   Community
    2. Collaboration between healthcare institutions and academic institutions
    3. How to choose your nurse externs
    4. Implementation
    5. Monitoring the success of the participants
    6. Tips for success
  3. Discussion on how to measure the outcomes of an externship program
  4. Conclusion

Conclusion.  The findings of the research study can be utilized in developing, implementing, sustaining, evaluating, and improving programs designed to assist newly graduate nurses transition into their roles as a licensed, professional nurse. Programs that may benefit from these findings include both pre and post-licensure internship programs such as residency programs.