This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Charlotte Cecarelli, NUR ’22
This has been my best summer ever. While this may sound like the opening line of a cheesy Netflix movie, it is incredibly true. For the first time ever, I was able to leave my hometown of North Haven, CT and spend the summer doing something I am passionate about. This was thanks to the funding I received from Career Services.
For the past few summers, I have had to avoid looking for internships that take me out of my hometown. All of my summer funds were to be set aside for the coming semester’s tuition and paying for rent would not be an option. With the summer funding I received this year, I was able to look outside of Connecticut for better opportunities. Penn Medicine was a great option, especially being a hospital I am familiar with from my nursing clinical rotations. I applied for the nursing externship program and accepted a position on Silverstein 9 (neurology and neurosurgery).
I had a wonderful experience through this Penn Medicine externship. Not only was I able to get in person experience in the hospital setting, but the externs were also invited to an education session each week. These sessions focused on major nursing topics such as skin care, diabetes, opioid overdose prevention, and many more.
Through the externship program, we were paired with a nurse preceptor on the unit. My preceptor, Caleigh, was so kind and welcoming. From the very first day I stepped on the unit, she was excited and eager to show me around and let me get right into practicing some of the hands on skills that are used by nurses. As an extern, I was able to prime IV tubing and lines, insert urinary catheters, perform EEGs and bladder scans, and complete patient physical assessments. These were all things I had learned in prior Penn Nursing classes but the hands on experience throughout the 12 hour shifts increased my confidence and independence. Working the same schedule as Caleigh allowed me to develop a relationship with her and I felt more comfortable asking her about her nursing career. She provided me with valuable advice and knowledge that I will take with me in my nursing career. The other nurses on the unit were just as welcoming and I truly felt like a part of their family. They would always call me in to patient rooms when they knew there would be a good patient care experience. This was something I always appreciated.
I am excited to say that I will continue being apart of this family now as a Nursing Assistant on the floor! This will allow me to continue getting the experience doing what I love even after the conclusion of the internship program.
I did not think it was possible to develop an even deeper love for nursing but it happened through this program! I am more motivated, inspired, and skilled going into my senior year of the nursing program and for that I am so grateful. Thank you Penn Career Services and all of the generous donors for making this the best summer ever!