Anmal Sandher, a nursing student at San Jose State University, is spending her summer vacation working and learning alongside registered nurses in the Intensive Care Unit at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara.
“I’m caring for patients and getting clinical experience at the same time,” Sandher said.
Her San Jose State classmate Emily Pon is also working as a paid nurse intern. Both are spending several days a week, supervised by experienced nurses, in a busy part of the hospital caring for some of the sickest patients. The interns are assigned duties appropriate to their level of care and experience.
“Interning at Kaiser Permanente gives us an opportunity to explore our interests, and to learn more without having an extra financial burden,” Pon said.
“The students love the experience, where they gain confidence and competence, while contributing greatly to our medical centers. More than ever, students are yearning for clinical experience because they haven’t had as much during COVID.” – Erica Hooper
The 2 nursing students are part of the Nursing Student Work-Study Summer Internship Program, administered by the Scholars Academy at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California and funded by the Kaiser Permanente Community Health program.
This summer, 45 nursing students are interning throughout Kaiser Permanente Northern California.
A need for nurses
According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 194,500 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the next decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
The internship program, now in its 17th year, helps meet that demand by providing clinical experience for nursing students, according to Erica Hooper, DNP, RN, Community Health and Academic Relations regional program manager.
Students who’ve completed their junior year of nursing school apply and interview for the highly competitive program, Hooper explained. Their acceptance is based on academic excellence and diversity.
They work an average of 10 weeks for a total of 240 hours. The 7 participating universities are University of San Francisco, Dominican University, Samuel Merritt University, and the California state universities in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and the East Bay.
A positive experience for all
Once accepted, the students are assigned to Kaiser Permanente departments that include intensive care units, cardiac, and labor and delivery, as well as non-clinical departments including infection prevention, nursing administration, and clinical education.
“The students love the experience, where they gain confidence and competence, while contributing greatly to our medical centers,” Hooper said. “More than ever, students are yearning for clinical experience because they haven’t had as much during COVID.”
For supervisors, the interns bring “extra energy, some extra hands, and excitement about nursing,” Hooper added.
It’s also a chance to see the future of nursing is in good hands.
Chloe Planche, a nurse intern in the Gastroenterology-Endoscopy Department at Kaiser Permanente Sacramento, said she chose nursing as her profession because of “a really personal connection.”
Planche told a local TV station that she was a caregiver for her grandmother for years, then said, “I think it’s a really special opportunity that we get to be there for people in their most vulnerable moments.”
Learn more about nursing careers at Kaiser Permanente. Click on the “Explore Opportunities” button to see open jobs and sort by location, specialty, and more.