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Internships Immerse Students in the Life of a Nurse

September 14, 2016

This summer, eight students in the Wegmans School of Nursing completed summer internships at Rochester and Buffalo area health care facilities.

Kristen Furey and Maggie Wilk interned at the Rochester Nurse Family Partnership, while Nicolette Nigro worked at the Catholic Health System in Buffalo.

Five students—Emily Donner, Alicia Girard, Claire Kazmierczak, Melissa Vaughn, and Amber Kramer—interned at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. On their final day, the Roswell interns presented evidence-based projects, completed in collaboration with nursing interns from other schools.

“Roswell internship opportunities are competitive and our students were accepted to five of the 20 openings,” said Dr. Marilyn Dollinger, professor and associate dean at the School. “Their projects were an opportunity to investigate the latest research and standards related to patient problems.”

Kazmierczak said she spent her days administering medications, assessing patients, changing dressings, and accompanying members of the health care team as they made their rounds. She spent time on both the pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant floor. Kazmierczak said that the one-on-one time she spent with her nurse preceptor helped improve her confidence and critical thinking. The internship also exposed her to several different areas of nursing.

“In this internship, I was able to be much more hands-on,” she said. “I spent a day in the operating room where I observed a brain surgery, among other procedures, and I also spent a day shadowing the wound and ostomy nurses, as well as nurses in interventional radiology.”

Vaughn agreed, noting that for her, the internship solidified her reasons for pursuing a career in nursing.

“I learned that becoming a patient advocate is crucial when communicating with the health care team,” she said. “I was able to apply the skills I learned in the classroom to the clinical setting and each day was a learning experience that only enhanced my ability and confidence in becoming a nurse.”

During their 10 weeks at Roswell, the five students also completed research projects on a variety of topics. Girard, whose study looked at how to increase retention rates of new nurses, said the project gave her a chance to explore a relevant topic in nursing.

“I found that doing a research project was beneficial and allowed us to see multiple aspects of the profession,” she explained. “It showed us that as future nurses, we will be lifelong learners.”