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Nurse Extern Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital


Front Row: (Left to right) Nurse Externs: Karen Norris, Amanda Lewis, Tiffany Hite, Allison Velvin, Jordan Young, and Harley Moore

Back Row: Janet Kaiser, Director of Emergency Department; Mary Hardin, Vice President of Patient Care Services; Lisa Smith, RN Mentor; Hazel Willis, RN, BSN, Education Manager; Jessica White, RN Mentor; Loren Hall, RN Mentor; Deandra Barner, RN Mentor; Amanda Matthews, RN Mentor; Theresa Griles, RN, BSN, RN Educator; and Teresa Collins, Director of Oncology. RN Mentors not pictured: Megan Lewallen, Alysha Rigney, Linda Gordon, Jasmine Parrish, and Wendy Bohannon

Nurse Extern Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital

Submitted by Hazel Willis, RN, BSN


Six Registered Nursing Students participated in the Nurse Extern Program offered by VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital this summer. The Nurse Extern Program at VCU Health CMH is designed to give Registered Nursing students the opportunity to work side-by-side under the supervision of a Registered Nurse Mentor. It is a ten-week program that allows them to rotate to different nursing units of their choice. The students get hands-on experience while working with registered nurses.  The program expands their knowledge and helps to prepare them for their senior year of nursing school and the role of a Registered Nurse in the workforce. 

The Nurse Externs described their experiences as wonderful and a great learning adventure. They stated, “We really felt like we were a part of the VCU Health CMH health care team. It boosted my confidence tremendously and it was an awesome experience to have the opportunity to apply what I have learned in school.” The Nurse Externs had many nursing stories to share and reiterated that they were glad they had taken the time this summer to participate. They completed the program stating they would strongly recommend it to other registered nursing students.

This was the sixteenth year that VCU Health CMH has offered the program. “We are pleased that we can offer this opportunity to registered nursing students,” states Hazel Willis, RN, BSN, VCU Health CMH Nurse Extern Coordinator. “It has been a positive recruitment tool to attract nurses to VCU Health CMH upon graduation.” The nurses that attended the program previously and joined the VCU Health CMH Nursing team after graduation described the transition from nursing student to Registered Nurse as feeling as if they were already a part of the dynamic health care team at VCU Health CMH. We encourage other nursing students to take advantage of the program next summer to better prepare themselves for the workforce and their senior year of the Registered Nursing Program.