It’s an irony of the pandemic: While health care facilities need even more nursing help, student nurses have not been able to get the on-the-job training they need.
That’s why our new winter nursing internship program — the first of its kind in Minnesota — is so important.
“Due to COVID, many nursing schools have suspended their hands-on nursing experience,” says Tina Kvalheim, professional nursing practice specialist. “So we decided to create a winter break internship program to breathe life into the summer program, which we couldn’t offer this past year.”
Between mid-December and early February, 36 student nurses are getting the chance to work at Methodist and Regions hospitals, and gaining experience that’s so vital to their development. Some did it during their winter break, others during a J-term.
One of those interns is Amber Langlois, who just completed her last semester at Crown College. She’s been working on S11 at Regions to complete a clinical rotation before graduating.
“The teamwork and willingness to teach has made my internship experience incredible,” Amber says. “My preceptors have both put so much time and effort into making me a better nurse, and all of the other nurses and PCAs on the floor have been nothing but amazing.”
Regions intern Paige Andrews agrees. “This experience has reminded me of why I chose to go into nursing and made me extremely excited to graduate in a few months,” she says.
The program is also a big win for the hospitals, which are always looking to cultivate new talent.
“The internship program is so helpful because it’s our pipeline for our future,” Tina says. “Developing rapport with the students, they become encultured and engaged and familiar with our organization and learn that they want to be there.”
Amber says her biggest takeaway has been learning the responsibility that comes with being a nurse.
“Coming into work and learning in a positive and conducive environment has made me realize that nursing is so much more than a career choice,” she says. “It takes true dedication and commitment.”
Pictured above: Methodist Hospital nurse intern Emily Schneider.