Anmal Sandher, a nursing student at San Jose State University, is spending her summer vacation working and learning alongside registered nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara.
“I’m caring for patients and getting clinical experience at the same time,” Sandher said.
Her San Jose State classmate, Emily Pon, is also working as a paid nurse intern. Both are spending several days a week, supervised by experienced nurses, in a busy part of the hospital caring for some of the sickest patients. The interns are assigned duties appropriate to their level of care and experience.
“Interning at Kaiser Permanente gives us an opportunity to explore our interests and to learn more without having an extra financial burden,” Pon said.
The two nursing students are part of the Nursing Student Work-Study Summer Internship Program, administered by the Scholars Academy at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California and funded by the Kaiser Permanente Community Health program. This summer, a total of 45 nursing students are interning at Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals.
The Nursing Work-Study Summer Internship provides exposure to the realities of clinical practice and gives interns an opportunity to master nursing skills learned in their academic program.
According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 194,500 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the next decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. To help meet that demand, Kaiser Permanente is trying to develop the next generation of nurses by providing clinical experience for nursing students.
“Kaiser Permanente’s mission is to provide high-quality health care, but we cannot do that without health care workers,” said Kevin Zeng, Director of Adult Services at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara. “Nationally, it’s a challenge to find well-trained health care workers.”
The nurse interns are paired up with nurse managers in the hospital who serve as mentors and guide them through their clinical training.
“The nurse interns here work their shifts surrounded by nurse professionals to ensure their safety and the safety of the patients in our care,” said Megan Gillespie, RN, chief nursing executive at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara.
In addition to getting clinical experience, Gillespie said the interns attended a recent onboarding ceremony for a new group of full-fledged nurses at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara, and she could see the interns’ excitement and interest in a nursing career grow even more.