June 28, 2002

Children’s Hospital launches nursing internship July 8

Featured Image

Dr. John S. Odess, second from right, was honored this week at the portrait unveiling. Also present at the ceremony were, from left, artist Michael Shane Neal, Dr. Robert Ossoff, and Carol Odess. (photo by Dana Johnson)

At Vanderbilt the route to becoming a pediatric nurse is changing with the July 8 launch of a 22-week internship for recent grads and established nurses new to pediatric nursing. The program of classroom instruction and training in patient care areas takes the place of a three-month on-the-job training period for pediatric nurses.

“The internship is being launched not only to ensure that our new nurses are well prepared to care for children but also to help attract nurses and improve staff retention,” said Debbie Arnow, interim assistant administrator for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Los Angeles Children’s Hospital has a similar program that has helped that facility reduce nursing staff turnover by half.

At Vanderbilt, the 46 interns in the inaugural group were selected from a field of 75 applicants. About 40 percent of the group are from outside Tennessee. The next pediatric nurse internship is scheduled to begin in January.

VCH is also launching a mentorship program for all interns. The mentors will help socialize the novice into the role of staff nurse, demonstrating how Vanderbilt nurses work together with people in different roles, from care partners to doctors to social workers; mentors may also help new nurses as they learn to balance work with home life and adjust to the demands of night and weekend shifts.