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Shenandoah Memorial Hospital Welcomes First Nurse Extern

Shenandoah Memorial Hospital Welcomes First Nurse Extern

Shenandoah Memorial Hospital welcomed its first-ever nurse extern this summer who's learning from a 38-year nurse veteran.

Ashton Streett, who will be completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Radford University in May, has been shadowing Ann Racey, RN, this summer. Ann has taught her everything from medication administration to dressing changes and patient care plans. Currently, Ashton charts on about four patients each shift while administering their medications and performing their assessments.

“SMH is a small hospital that is very cohesive in the care they give their patients,” Ashton says. “The doctors, therapists (OT/PT), social workers, nurses, surgeons and more all communicate and collaborate with each other while performing patient care. Bigger hospitals I've done clinicals at lack in communication skills and teamwork. The staff at SMH is very welcoming and supportive of me. I was nervous on my first day, so everyone’s friendly faces and kind words eased those first-day jitters.”

Nurse externs are under the supervision of RN preceptors and gain clinical experience to strengthen and reinforce newly acquired knowledge and skills. Externs are full-time paid positions, often offered over the summer. Internships, in comparison, are unpaid and the experience is a clinical rotation that is part of the student’s curriculum.

Ashton inquired about an extern position at SMH because although she was comfortable with the book skills she was learning in classes, she wanted extra patient-care experiences since clinical time in nursing school had been limited due to COVID.

“She’s been by my side doing exactly what I do,” Ann says. “This has been a positive experience for her and for me. For SMH, if she sees a positive experience here, she might want to come work here.”

Ashton says she has gained a lot of confidence and knowledge through the experience.

“Ann has been an incredible teacher and, of course, a nurse,” she says. “She has helped ease me into the role of what it’s actually like being a nurse. Each week I added a new skill until I felt comfortable with her supervision. Ann was very patient with me through all my questions. She was very good about explaining what she was doing and the importance of why she was doing it.”

Barbara Barb, department manager of Critical Care Step Down at SMH, commended Ann for her work.

“What a great preceptor Ann is,” she says. “She’s a fountain of patience and a great educator.”