February 8, 2023
Internships the result of local partnership
Cheyenne, WY—Cheyenne Regional Medical Center is partnering with Laramie County Community College to provide paid student nurse internships at CRMC. Funding is being provided by a Wyoming Department of Workforce Services grant.
Each intern is hired into one of the hospital’s nursing units and is supervised by an experienced CRMC nurse preceptor. The interns are also required to take a two-credit hour course at LCCC. An intern can participate in the program for all three semesters of their senior year in nursing school.
The student interns can elect to do their 135 hours of onsite work in one of several units at CRMC.
Ten student nurses participated in the program’s first two classes held last summer and fall. Seven interns were from LCCC and three were from the University of Wyoming. The UW students were permitted to enroll in the LCCC course so they could participate in the internship.
“Today’s healthcare environment is extremely complex,” said Lyndsey Smith, a masters-degree level registered nurse who oversees CRMC’s student nurse intern and nurse residency programs. “This program can help provide new nurses with the tools, mentorship and experience needed to increase confidence and competence as they look forward to beginning their clinical career.”
In the LCCC course, the student nurses focus on goal setting and competency achievement under the supervision of Karen Bowen, who directs LCCC’s nursing program.
“The didactic/course work is offered completely online to allow for the most flexibility to the students and preceptors,” Bowen said. “The focus of the coursework is to support the continued development of those necessary clinical judgment and critical thinking skills that students need to navigate the complex healthcare environment.”
Interns have worked on CRMC’s Surgical-Orthopedics/Neurosurgery Unit, Telemetry Unit, Medical Unit, Oncology Unit, Women and Children’s Services, Emergency Department and in the Resource Department.
“This kind of program offers invaluable hands-on experience as well as a good introduction to our healthcare facility,” Smith said. “It’s really a great opportunity for everyone involved.”
Smith said she got the idea to develop CRMC’s program after attending a workshop about the value of student nurse internships at a national nursing conference in 2021.
“I presented the idea to Cheyenne Regional Director of Professional Practice Heidi Tatum and our health system’s Executive Nurse Leadership Team and Nurse Residency Advisory Board, and they were all extremely enthusiastic,” Smith said.
The program also had to be approved by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing and requires academic oversight by an approved college of nursing.
“We are grateful to Laramie County Community College for agreeing to partner with us in developing the program,” Smith said.
Moving forward, LCCC’s nursing program will continue to provide academic oversite for student nurse interns to ensure safety and success.
“We are proud to partner with CRMC to provide an opportunity for students to further develop skills and confidence,” Bowen said. “Healthcare providers are desperately needed in our community and in others around the state and region, and we feel that this program further supports meeting this need.”
Smith also thanked the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services for providing the grant to pay the interns for their work at CRMC.
“We didn’t fully know what to expect when the program started last summer,” Smith said. “But things have gone really well. The interns have all worked hard, and the feedback we received from them as well as the nursing unit managers and preceptors has been overwhelmingly positive. Several of the interns said that the experience increased their confidence and desire to be a nurse.”
The program is currently working on filling a third class that will begin this spring.
More information about CRMC’s student nurse internship program is available by calling Smith at (307) 996-4731.