A Seton Hall nursing student spent the summer working on the front lines of children’s healthcare with families from around the world. Senior Lauren Lehan was accepted from among 600 applicants into the prestigious 10-week summer externship program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the nation’s first pediatric hospital. There, she worked one-on-one with a preceptor in an intense clinical setting providing both primary and acute care to some of the nation’s sickest children.
The experience taught Lehan to be resilient in the face of both joy and tragedy.
“I have helped transport an infant for a procedure after that patient coded three times the previous night,” Lehan said. “But I have also been able to see a sick micro-preemie stabilize and go home with their parents. Witnessing a baby who is hardly one pound survive, grow, and have her mother hold her for the first time is so amazing and rewarding.”
Lehan said that the small things are very important when working with families. “Parents of children have been extremely grateful for something as simple as my presence,” she said. “I have been told by more than one parent that I will be ‘one of the good ones’ because I made sure to take the time out of my day to ask the parents how they were doing, talk to the sick infant’s siblings, and even play with their child.”
Seton Hall nursing faculty member Maureen Byrnes, D.N.P., R.N., CNM, who supported Lehan during her application process, is far from surprised by her success in the program.
“Some nursing students find their true passion within one area of the profession, and Lauren found her niche in pediatrics very early,” Dr. Byrnes said. “I try to encourage students to find and follow their passion, and Lauren took that advice to heart. Pediatrics is a vocation, rather than an occupation for a student like Lauren! Her participation in the CHOP Externship is a wonderful reflection on Seton Hall University College of Nursing.”
Lehan was offered a position as a nurse technician at CHOP this year, a position she gratefully accepted after her externship experience. According to CHOP’s Educational Nurse Specialist Jill Manuola, M.S.N., R.N., this has been the case for many former externs throughout the program’s decade-long history: “This experience gives students a glimpse of the impact nursing has on healthcare and the role they will play,” she said. “A large number of our externs will remain on as nurse technicians during their senior year and then return after graduation ready to begin their nursing career at CHOP.”
The annual program aims to enable students to “refine nursing skills, get acquainted with the clinical setting, apply academic knowledge to practice, work with a preceptor, participate in weekly seminars on a variety of topics, and schedule observational experiences on a selected unit,” according to CHOP’s website.
The program is paid, runs for 10 weeks during the summer, and is available to rising seniors enrolled in a B.S.N. program. Applications are typically accepted in November, with interviews in mid-February. Interested students should visit the CHOP career page at www.chop.edu/careers for more information.
About Seton Hall University College of Nursing
Seton Hall University College of Nursing offered the first baccalaureate nursing program in New Jersey in 1937 and is CCNE-accredited through June of 2019. The graduate program was established in 1975, the Ph.D. program in 2006 and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program in 2009. U.S. News & World Report ranks Seton Hall University College of Nursing as one of the top graduate nursing programs in the country. The College of Nursing’s mission is to educate baccalaureate-prepared generalists and advanced practitioners of nursing who aspire to be innovators and leaders in the nursing profession.
Categories: Health and Medicine