Nursing Student Receives Experience of Lifetime Through Summer Externship

Bridget King poses with "Mayo One" at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
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Bridget King poses with "Mayo One" at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Bridget King, a senior in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas, wanted to do something this summer that related to nursing so that she could keep up with her studies. Fortunately enough, she was granted the opportunity to shadow three clinical coaches for 10 weeks when she was selected for an externship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

"I was really intimidated at first; the hospital was huge and I have never been in a hospital that prestigious before," said King, who is from Germantown, Tennessee.

Throughout the summer, she took care of different patients and worked as a team with her clinical coaches. This required mostly day-to-day nursing duties such as checking charts and observing nurses giving out medicines. Occasionally, there were special days in which she would get to observe different parts of the hospital such as the transplant intensive care unit, operating rooms, and the heart rhythm services area.

"I really like the aspect of being with people and being around people," King said. "I'm very passionate about nursing, and being able to be with people when they are at their most vulnerable point is something that makes this profession so rewarding."

After graduation, King plans to return to the Mayo Clinic and work. She is interested in pursuing a future in the general medicine and family medicine field.

"This summer was unbeatable, unforgettable and by far the most rewarding summer of my life," King said. "I learned how to be a better nurse, how to wholeheartedly put the patient first, and how to provide the best care possible. Nursing is much more than the tangibles of providing highly specialized medical care. There is an intangible 'Mayo way of nursing,' and that is precisely what I learned this summer."

When asked why she wanted to pursue a career in nursing, King reminisced on a patient she cared for during her time at the Mayo Clinic this summer. They instantly bonded over a common interest, the Food Network. From hanging out and watching celebrity chef Bobby Flay to dealing with the tougher situations, this patient taught King just how important her presence was to her as her nurse.

"We laughed about life despite the ominous hardship approaching, had endless discussions about food, and joked about mindless topics," she said. "We held her hand tight through the pain and the tears, and smiled when those tears should have been pouring down her face. We bathed her, did her hair, and made her comfortable. We made her feel like she was at home."

King said that she didn't think she would even get this opportunity with the large number of strong applicants, but in the end she was in awe when she was selected for the unbelievable opportunity. 

"Sometimes it is difficult to know how impactful your care has been to your patients. But the moment she looked at me, paused, then said, 'Bridget, you've been a joy. You really have,' is the moment that my whole summer came together."

Contacts

Brandi Moore, communications intern
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, bnm008@uark.edu

Heidi Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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