The Implementation of the Evidence-Based Nurse Internship Program

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 2:05 PM

Gail Hanlon, MSN
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Bennington, VT

The implementation of this state-wide program required the collaboration of hospital administrators, nurse managers, clinical educator, staff members, preceptors and the new nurses themselves.  The new nurses are not counted in the staffing mix for the 10 weeks of the internship.  During this time, they worked with the preceptor to develop the skills needed for successful clinical decision-making.  The organization made a considerable contribution to the project, through paying the intern’s salary and providing the preceptor with ‘time to teach’.  During grant funding periods, the health care organizations were paid a stipend for offering the internship, but this was minimal compared to their investment.

Preceptor development is a critical part of implementing an Internship.  The preceptors are taught how to teach, how to foster critical thinking development, and how to provide objective, performance-based evaluation.  Core communication, feedback and interpersonal skills are taught and practiced within the core instruction. 

The site coordinators are the primary contact people for the project.  Clinical educators have a history of working together in the State and are knowledgeable about the needs of their organization and about the educational needs of new nurses.  They meet twice a year to evaluate and provide feedback about the Internship to the Project Director.

VNIP maintains a web site ( ) that shares program info, provides access to updated and revised materials, and posts the schedule for educational offerings.  It has standardized the curriculum for both preceptor and intern development.  To date, 862 interns have been enrolled in the VNIP program, and over 2800 care providers have participated in preceptor development courses.  Just imagine, using the same competency assessment tool for validation of new graduates and travelers in multiple settings, across the state – even across the nation!