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Austin Peay students participate, earn recognition during prestigious Vanderbilt nursing internship

Jessica Sheers

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — One Austin Peay State University School of Nursing student was recently honored for her excellence as she and a number of other Austin Peay nursing students took part in a summer internship program at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC).

Jessica Sheers received the VUMC Credo Award for her work as a maternal/infant track nursing intern during the Summer 2017 term. Sheers was one of 16 Austin Peay students who participated in a summer internship program at VUMC, titled Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP). They joined students from four other regional nursing programs at the nationally recognized medical facility.

“Through VESNIP, I was able to do and experience so much more than I had before through my regular semester clinicals,” Sheers said. “I felt as if I were working as a real nurse…getting to go to all of the areas, such as labor and delivery, newborn nursery, and postpartum and being able to do so much more than just shadow a nurse, solidified my desire to be a nurse in any one of these areas.”

The Credo Award’s purpose is to recognize individuals who consistently demonstrate exceptional behavior in adherence to VUMC’s five Credo Behaviors, which include respecting privacy and confidentiality, communicating effectively, conducting yourself professionally, maintaining a sense of ownership and a commitment to your colleagues.

“I was honored (to receive the Credo Award) and surprised that I had made that much of an impression on the nurses that I worked with,” Sheers said. “Every day I was on the floor, I tried to be as much of a help to them as I could be, whether it was just getting a patient some more supplies for their bathroom or drawing a blood sample when they had a million other things to take care of.

“I was grateful to all the nurses that took me under their wing and had the confidence in me and trusted me to handle some things on my own because I was that patient's nurse too, not just a student.”

This is the 12th year of participation in VESNIP for the Austin Peay School of Nursing. A nationally recognized nursing student internship program, VESNIP provides intense clinical experiences for select senior level nursing students. Under the guidance of Austin Peay professor Dr. Amy Hamlin, the VESNIP internship offers students opportunities to work alongside expert nurse preceptors within assigned specialty tracks. VESNIP positions are very competitive and are considered elite opportunities for students from around the region.

Austin Peay students received financial assistance in the form of a $5,000 Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) grant through the University’s Learning Opportunities Center. QEP grants are awarded to Austin Peay faculty, staff and students to enhance or create new high-impact practice experiences relating to the areas of internships, service-learning, study abroad or undergraduate research.

For more information on the Austin Peay School of Nursing, visit www.apsu.edu/nursing. To find out more about QEP opportunities, visit www.apsu.edu/loc.