Evaluation of the Evidence-Based Nurse Internship Program

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 2:25 PM

Richard Watters, RN, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, TN

Evaluation of the project involves tracking new nurses as they enter the work force, move through the Internship and move into work roles.  The Office of Nursing Workforce at the University of Vermont sends a questionnaire with re-licensure materials to explore job satisfaction, intention to leave and reasons for leaving.  The questionnaire includes demographic data and other information recommended by the Colleagues on Caring.  With recent questionnaires, a query was added to identify participation in the Vermont Nurses In Partnership (VNIP) nurse internship.  This survey was completed in spring 2008 and analysis was done to compare intent with actual retention, VNIP participants vs. non-participants. 

The VNIP Office collects survey forms used by interns and preceptors to evaluate the program and agency-based site coordinators submit quarterly reports that track retention and ‘reasons for leaving’.   All data undergoes formative and summative analysis on a semi-annual basis.  The framework for the internship and the teaching plan for preceptor development have undergone annual modifications based on this data. 

From 2003 through 2009, VNIP enrolled and tracked 670 nurse interns.  Significant findings include that a significant number of interns, thirty-one (31) or 5%, did not complete the program.  Seven of these failed to pass their NCLEX exam and several were unable to meet the competency requirements.  Of those that completed the internship, less than 10% left their position of hire in less than 1 year, whereas national data shows that 35% to 60% of new nurses turnover within the first year of employment CITATION Hal06 \l 1033  (Halfer, 2006).   As of fall 2008, less than 5% had left their positions between 12 and 48 months of their hire date.