Abby Spanier

Intern Name: Abby Spanier 

Major: Nursing 

Title/Place of Internship: Summer Nurse Intern/ University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital 

How did you find out about your internship/fellowship/etc.?

I found out about this internship opportunity while talking with a Fairview representative at the Health-Related Career Fair at St. Ben's. The HR rep had explained that their organization offers internships to nursing students, and that this is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door. Later on, when it came time to apply for internships the nursing faculty at CSB/SJU provided a list of Minnesota hospitals that collaborates with our institution to give internship credit. Fairview was one of several hospitals I was interested in that were listed on this form. From there on out, the CSB/SJU nursing faculty were extremely helpful in helping us fill out applications, provide reference letters, and navigate the whole process.

What were your responsibilities at your internship/fellowship/etc.?

At my internship I basically worked as a real-life registered nurse. I had a preceptor who gave me hands on mentoring and walked me through the ropes in the beginning, but towards the end I was basically handling an entire patient load with just preceptor supervision. The level of independence and autonomy that I had really contributed to a huge growth in confidence over the course of the internship. I was getting the opportunity to experience what it really takes to work a full-time RN position. In clinical opportunities throughout school you are only on a unit for a week or so for a few hours at a time, but my internship allowed me over two full months working entire shifts. This experience was invaluable and really boosted my nursing education.

What was the most beneficial aspect of your experience?

I believe the most beneficial aspect of my experience was developing professional relationships and connections. Fairview was very invested in their interns and expressed a huge investment in us. We met several times over the summer with HR reps, recruiters, and nurse managers to get tips and tricks for applying for new graduate nursing jobs. This also provided time for networking. Gaining this experience really helped me feel more confident when applying to jobs, and allowed me to reach out to professional contacts for help.

What was the most surprising thing you experienced at your internship?

I was most surprised by the level of trust and autonomy I was granted at my internship. My preceptors taught me very well and once they saw that I became comfortable they would push me to grow further. It was such a dynamic and adaptive learning process. By the end of the experience I felt like a sponge who had absorbed an abundance of information. I was anticipating this experience to feel more like I was shadowing a nurse, but I was surprised to find out at the end of the experience I was practically working like a real nurse!

How can you apply what you experienced at your internship/fellowship/etc. in the future?

This experience helped me gain so much confidence. The hands on experience alone helped me develop my skills and granted me the opportunity to see and do things that I had never gotten the chance to before. I will take everything I learned at my internship and apply it to my future role as an RN.

What advice would you offer to future students interested in this experience?

GO FOR IT. There are so many excuses you can make to not seek out an internship. For me being a local student from Sartell, I was presented with a challenge when I was offered an internship in Minneapolis. I could've made the excuse that I didn't want to move, find a place to live, relocate, etc. Instead, I decided to go for it, and it was the best decision I ever made. It can be scary to put yourself out there, and you may not be granted every opportunity you apply for, but it is so important to continually chase your dreams and set out to reach your goals even if the next step is a little frightening.

(April 2019)