Summer Work Experience

by · September 15, 2014

Junior nursing student Bradley Moody tests a colleague’s blood
glucose level during his time with the Nursing Apprentice Program
at White Plains Hospital this past summer.

My experience at White Plains Hospital (WPH) was nothing short of incredible.

This summer, I worked two, three-week rotations – my first in the Emergency Room and the second on the 5F, or oncology, floor. I was hired there (yes, hired with pay) into their Nurse Apprentice Program for the summer to assist the nurses and nurse technicians in their daily duties, while observing their work.

I worked Monday through Friday, putting in 40 hours per week. This was really the first full-time job I had ever had. I saw a great deal of patients and refined many skills that I have learned, including checking vital signs, glucose scans, ECGs, and basic patient care. More interesting to me, I was able to see how medical professionals respond when patients have strokes, seizures, episodes of sinus ventricular tachycardia, alcohol and drug overdoses, are mentally altered (aka “psych”), or when patients need sutures, or stitches. I also learned how to conduct post-mortem care.

One of the things that you do not learn from a textbook is how a hospital operates. Since being at WPH, I learned how to bring a patient from the front doors of the ER, through triage, to a room, obtain vitals, and do an ECG that the doctor approves and uses in their decisions and plan of care. Being able to do this has made me a very independent professional.

Right: Bradley Moody prepares the decontamination room for a patient arriving by ambulance.

In my classes, I now have a solid base and experience to think about in order to understand the concepts that I am learning. Going into my med-surgical clinicals next semester is going to be so much easier because of the work and skills I crafted over the summer. I am no longer worried about the transition to my clinical hospital. I can handle the work load of having patients to care for, while prioritizing their needs, and giving them the time and attention they deserve and enjoy. Seeing how the patients’ attitudes and wellness status changed over perhaps only a few hours, partly because of the work I did with them, was beyond rewarding. My drive home from work was always filled with satisfaction. I currently live in Poughkeepsie, about an hour from WPH, and the commute before and after work was absolutely worth it for the experience and education I received.

The Nurse Apprentice Program is a beginner’s program, although super competitive, with students ranging from incoming freshmen to incoming juniors. You begin with the skill set you have, if any, and you continue to build on it throughout the program. I found that the nurses and technicians, as well as other professionals (physician assistants, nurse practitioners, doctors, etc.) explain and work alongside you while you are learning and help you to grow. What more could you ask for? Furthermore, WPH gives you the opportunity to partake in their Nurse Associate Program during the summer preceding senior year, which makes you a strong candidate for employment after graduation. Interestingly, there are 70 nurses employed at WPH that started in either or both the Apprentice and Associate programs. I hope to join their ranks someday.

Bradley Moody, class of 2016, is a nursing student from Poughkeepsie, NY.