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Graduate Nurses' Perceptions of a Critical Care Nurse Internship Program

Eigsti, Janice E. MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN

Journal for Nurses in Professional Development: July-August 2009 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 - p 191-198
doi: 10.1097/NND.0b013e3181ae1450

Graduate nurse internship programs (NIPs) have existed for a number of years as tools for recruiting and retaining nurses. A recent literature review uncovers the rare NIP dedicated to orienting the graduate nurse to a critical care environment. Few have addressed the nurse interns' perceptions of these programs. Ongoing evaluation is vital to improving existing programs and giving credence to other hospitals with similar initiatives. A retrospective descriptive design study with the purpose of disclosing the critical care graduate nurse interns' perceptions of the critical care NIP at Elkhart General Hospital, a 330-bed community hospital in Elkhart, Indiana, provided information for this study. Patricia Benner's novice-to-expert model served as the theoretical framework. The critical care NIP questionnaire provided satisfaction scores for program components. Mean scores between groups were explored using the t test. Mean satisfaction score for the overall program was 5.62 (SD = 0.371), with a retention rate of 76.9% (20 of 26). Statistically significant differences in satisfaction scores were not found in this pilot study between nurse interns currently working in critical care and those who are not.

The author presents a pilot study of new graduate nurses' satisfaction with a critical care internship program.

Janice E. Eigsti, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN, is Critical Care Nurse Educator, Elkhart General Hospital, Elkhart, Indiana.

ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE: Janice E. Eigsti, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN, Elkhart General Hospital, 600 E. Blvd., Elkhart, IN 46514 (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.