HealthDay News — The importance of a structured internship program with mentoring from a preceptor and unit-base clinical nurse specialist was highlighted in a recent survey of new graduate nurses orienting to a specialty area.

“As the predicted nursing shortage evolves during the next five to 10 years, innovative programs will be needed to prepare new graduate nurses for varied clinical areas, including critical care,” Penelope Glynn, PhD, of Regis College in Weston, and Sheila Silva, MSN, of Norwood Hospital, both in Massachusetts, reported in the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

In order to determine which parts of internship programs nursing students find most valuable, they interviewed eight new recent nurse graduates who participated in a 16-week internship in the emergency department of a 200-bed community hospital. The program consisted of a mix of didactic instruction and hands-on clinical experience.

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“[T]he roles of the preceptor and unit-base CNS appear to be key factors in the successful transition from new graduate to emergency nurse,” the researchers found.

Additionally, interview responses yielded three key themes in terms of what students look for:

  • Acquiring new knowledge and skills in a specialty area
  • Becoming more proficient
  • Assistance with role transition from a student to working in a clinical environment

“Developing the best orientation program possible is vital to the new graduate’s successful transition and retention in these areas,” Glynn and Silva concluded.


  1. Glynn P, Silva S. J Emerg Nurs. 2013; 39(2):173-178.