Taylor Bridgman writes about her summer experience at Northwestern Memorial Hospital that helped expand her view of nursing going into senior year.
“This past summer, I had the privilege to take part in the eight week Northwestern Memorial Hospital student nurse internship (SNI) program at the main campus in Chicago. Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, I dreamt of working for a healthcare system with the excellence and innovation that Northwestern provides. After hearing the news that I was selected for one of the 30 spots, I was in awe that a dream I had set as a little girl was becoming true. I was chosen to work on the Neurology and Spine Intensive Care Unit. My first week was full of educational meetings and simulations orienting us to the hospital.
The Northwestern internship is unique by pairing each intern with one preceptor who is a registered nurse on his or her assigned unit. For the following eight weeks you work three 12hr shifts side by side with your preceptor. As the weeks go by, you directly experience what a day in the life of a nurse is. As the student, you are given the gift of watching and experiencing nursing for eight weeks prior to graduating and taking the NCLEX.
My unit had a very diverse patient population. I helped treat the rich and poor, youth and elderly. Many patients had suffered strokes, various types of brain tumors, spinal cord injuries, and unique genetic diseases. Being at one of the nation’s top centers for neurology, our patients were the sickest of the sick. The premiere surgeons would take on cases never before seen. Having spent my summer at the epicenter of education on neurology, my experience and knowledge grew tremendously in the field. As a critical care nurse, it is important to prioritize your plan of care for each individual patient. Due to the high acuity of each patient, I was able to understand how neurological deficits affect every major anatomical system. Through my clinical experience, I was able to relate what we have learned in theory to the daily skills and assessments seen in practice.
My Villanova education has prepared me for future employment with Northwestern Memorial Hospital. After recognizing my love for intensive care, I hope to one day become a Nurse Practitioner specializing in intensive care settings.”
Remain open and flexible! Prior to my experience in the Neuro ICU, I had never considered critical care. However, eight weeks later I have fallen in love with the high acuity each patient presents.
Always say "Yes!" Physicians and nurses want to help student nurses gain in their education and knowledge. If someone asks if you would like to see a unique case, say "yes!" These moments as a student contribute to your education and may show you a career path that you would have otherwise never considered.