For Keiser University junior Alanna Waugh, the opportunity to join fellow classmates as a Nurse Extern at HCA Florida JFK Hospital holds special meaning.
Diagnosed with a benign Myxoma tumor in 2021, Waugh plans to have surgery to prevent the potential for clotting and arrhythmias and is thankful for the chance to care for others with similar challenges. “Having experienced the stress and pain that comes with a cardiac condition firsthand, I will be able to closely identify with patients while also helping to initiate the standard processes and protocols following heart surgery and other cardiac-related procedures,” said Waugh, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program learner who added that she’s also grateful to gain further hands-on experience before graduation.
The student externship opportunities for Waugh and her Keiser University Flagship Campus Cohort 5 classmates also span HCA Florida JFK Hospital’s intensive care unit and emergency department while serving as a precursor to its paid Star RN special training apprenticeship program that provides new graduates the opportunity to start their careers with specialty training in acute care.
Nursing program faculty member Dr. Dorean McLaughlin is thrilled that the group will benefit from the additional learning experience. “It’s truly impressive that all the students were offered clinical positions and speaks to the high-quality preparation that Keiser University provides its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program students,” she said while adding that she is grateful for the hospital’s support in providing opportunities for students to gain practical knowledge in the clinical setting. “In the Cardiovascular Unit, they will learn and improve critical thinking skills, focused assessment, and quick intervention, reading of rhythm strips, and recognition of arrhythmias with medications that would be offered to stabilize patients for positive outcomes. In the Emergency Department the same level of critical thinking and assessment will be necessary along with a quicker pace and flexibility to adapt to triaging of patients in all areas of treatment protocols due to the constant intake and larger volume of patients,” she added.
Keiser University’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program graduates will be prepared to provide compassionate, patient-centered, culturally competent nursing care to individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations in a variety of settings. Using evidence-based knowledge and skills related to wellness, health promotion, illness, disease management, and end-of-life care to improve healthcare outcomes. They will practice in partnership with patients and family members along with leaders of the interprofessional healthcare teams, utilizing the most current healthcare technologies for positive patient outcomes.