Nurse Extern Program graduates with their University of Southern Mississippi instructor, Kim Smith, RN, MSN

Students who participated in the 2021 Forrest General Hospital Nurse Extern Program completed their training Friday, July 30. The nursing students, who all attend the University of Southern Mississippi, complimented the program saying they have gained valuable experience during the past two months that will help them better care for patients in the future.

The 2021 Nurse Extern Program, which began at the beginning of the summer, concluded with a reception. The nurse externs are senior-level nursing students who work under an RN preceptor to further develop their nursing skills. They will return to school this fall, with most graduating in December.

This summer program, which ran from May 24 to July 30, is a joint effort between the Mississippi Council of Deans and the Mississippi Hospital Association. Kim Smith, RN, MSN, serves as the instructor for this three-hour summer course for USM.

“The main goal of the program is to enhance the skills the students have already learned such as starting IVs, Foley catheters, compressions as well as time management,” said Smith.
The purpose of the program, which requires 320 work hours, is to provide students with an opportunity to enhance competencies; assist nursing students to experience a typical work environment; prepare nursing students to assume responsibilities of a full-time Registered Nurse and encourage retention of nursing graduates.

Forrest General’s 2021 Nurse Externs are: Brooke Duckworth, Savannah Frieman, Angel Graham, Baylee Grimsley, Jordan Hymel, Ally Mangum, Kelsey Moore, Molly Pausina, Drew Price, Makenzie Rahaim and Destin Yates.
“This program would not be possible without the support of nursing administration, patient care managers, and registered nurses who are willing to serve as preceptors for nurse externs,” said Linda Holmes, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, education specialist at Forrest General. She expressed thanks to this year’s preceptors: Donald Rico, RN, ICU; Delaney McAleer, RN, ICU; Chris Barnett, RN, ICU; Betsy Panella, RN, 2T; Lauren Ward, RN, 5T; Christina McDuffie, RN, Pool; Becky Brazell, RN, Pool; Kadeshia Smith, RN, Pool; Kaitlyn Smith, RN, 4FB; Amarylis Caves, RN, Family Birthplace; Cortney Lewellyn, RN, Pediatrics and Mandi Chance, RN, Pool Nurse.
For Drew Price of Columbia, the externship provided important experience in learning  time management. “A lot of time when you are on rotations in school you only see one patient,” he said. “Working on the floor, I learned how to manage my time with five to seven patients.” Price said he was very grateful for the time and experience he had working on the floor. One day, he would like to work in ICU.
Baylee Grimley of Petal is proud of the experience she gained this summer. “Coming into this (program), we didn’t have a lot of experience on the floor because the middle of our first semester is when COVID-19 started,” Grimsley said. “It meant a lot to us to be able to do this because we’ve been able to practice a lot of skills we’ve been learning about for the last two years. We’ve learned how to manage our time so much better, talk to patients and put everything into practice.”
Grimsley said she always wanted to help people. “A lot of nursing students want to be a social worker or nurse. I really liked science, but for me, by combining the two into nursing. I get to do hands-on patient care while learning about the science of everything. It’s a great way to help people, and I know what I’m doing is making a difference.”
Holmes said the Nurse Extern Program, which is a collaboration between the School of Nursing and the Hospital, is a great way to help senior-level student nurses increase confidence and competence in skills and patient care. “It gives them a realistic picture of providing patient care in a hospital setting, learning time management, prioritizing and documenting care, and it eases their transition into their role as a new registered nurse,” she said.

Forrest General Hospital. (2021 July 30). Press Nurse Extern Program graduates with their University of Southern Mississippi instructor, Kim Smith, RN, MSN [Press Release]

Press Release Provided By:
Linda Holmes, MSN, RN, NPD-BC
Education Specialist, Education Department
Forrest General Hospital