CKHS and Widener Team Up to Offer Education and Employment - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

CKHS and Widener Team Up to Offer Education and Employment

Less than a year ago, the Widener University School of Nursing partnered with CKHS on a pilot program to provide nursing students with both education and employment.

Under the supplemental staffing extern program, 40 junior nursing students from Widener joined the CKHS supplemental staffing pool as patient care techs.

“In the six months since they set foot on the floors, these students have really shined,” says Kathy Layton, M.S.N., B.A., R.N.-B.C., clinical nurse educator at DCMH. “They have been extremely professional, dependable and genuinely excited about learning. In fact, many of our nurses have asked that the health system hire these students following graduation.”

To prepare them for this role, students participated in a rigorous training program developed by CKHS’ clinical nurse educators.

“Training for the inaugural class took place in May and was comprised of classroom work, time in the simulation lab, self-learning tactics and homework,” says Layton. “During rotations at all four health system hospitals and the Institute for Behavioral Health students practiced blood draws, EKGs and other clinical skills.”

By the summer, students were picking up hours in CKHS’ hospitals, with many of them working nearly full time.

“Students were allowed to work as much as they wanted during the summer,” Layton says, “but during the school year had to commit to a minimum of two shifts a month.”

It’s Layton’s hope that there will be RN positions available for these students in the health system when they graduate in the spring.

“We’ve gotten to know them pretty well and would certainly be very fortunate to have them as part of our team,” she says.

If they aren’t able to work in one of CKHS’ hospitals, the nurses are welcome to continue employment through the supplemental staffing pool as patient care techs until they find permanent employment.

The next group of junior nursing students will begin interviewing for the supplemental staffing positions in the spring.