Can I take leave during the internship? A: You are allotted five days of leave throughout the 16 weeks of the internship. You must request leave in advance-fill out a leave chit and have it approved by the program director. I don’t have my nursing license yet, how will that affect me? A: If you come to the command without your license, you will have NCLEX prep time factored into your schedule and will register for and take the NCLEX in California. What exactly is the “nurse internship” and how long will I be in it? A: The nurse internship is a 16 week program designed to slowly introduce both the Navy and nursing to new nursing graduates and nurses with less than six months of work experience. As an intern you will rotate through different areas of the hospital and be exposed to several specialty areas at NMCSD. What is a sponsor and how do I get one? A: The Navy provides sponsors to ease adjustment when moving to a new command. As a nurse intern your sponsor will be a military nurse working at the hospital that can answer most of your questions, refer you to the proper resources, and help you adjust to San Diego and the command. For information please contact: Program Director. What kind of patient load should I expect? A: The first week or so you will be in an orientation phase and will take one to two patients while you learn the system of the hospital and floor. By the end of your program, you should be able to provide primary nursing care for 5 patients and begin team leading with a corpsman. What other kinds of duties should I expect both inside and outside of the hospital as an intern? A: Every nurse intern is required to prepare a ten to twenty minute presentation on a patient to present at the roundtable. Also, self-directed study packets are to be done on your own time when assigned. You also are required to read and complete competencies in your nursing intern binder. What types of patient population will I be caring for? A: You will care for active duty personnel and their dependants, as well as retirees and their dependants from all branches of the military. What will my schedule be like? A: You will generally work 40 hours a week which may include alternating weekends. During the 16 weeks you will get the majority of your experience on medical and surgical units. Specialty days will be intermixed throughout the internship on which you can request areas such as the ER, ICU, OR, or other departments available at that time. Class days (eight hour days) will also be enclosed in your schedule. Courses you might expect include a welcome aboard seminar, vascular access device course, a Medical-Surgical Course and a Pain Management Course. On Friday afternoons, all the nurse interns meet with the Program Director at what is called "roundtable". Various things can occur at the roundtable, such as lectures, inservices and presentations on current topics pertaining to our profession. Expect to PT as a group after each roundtable; so don't forget your PT gear. What's Next? A: Like the other Ensigns in the program, I asked what was next after the internship. I wanted to know what to expect. The internship had allowed me to hone in on my critical thinking and organizational skills. During the last month of the program I trained with the Team I would be assigned with after graduation. Upon graduation, you will begin managing a team of up to 8 patients, or "Team Leading", with the help of a Hospital Corpsman. You are able to evaluate your corpsman's skills and will work together to assess and tackle problems that arise during your day. You will be teaching your corpsman a great deal as well as learning from him or her. Now that it has been a month or two and you are flying high, it's time to take on a collateral or two. Start thinking about classes you may take. Some wards require you to take a class or two needed for certifications, but the hospital offers several others. For example, you may want to take a refresher course on the EKG or get your certification for ACLS. Or put in a request for Trauma Nurse Corps Course or Combat Casualty Care Course. Platform assignments may require other training exercises such as Firefighting or Nuclear Biological Chemical training. If you are not part of an association such as American Nurses Association or the Pediatrics Association, you may want to become a member. Associations offer seminars, all over the country, that the Navy may send you at no cost to you. By the time you have soaked up all that the command has to offer, it's time to PCS and conquer the next challenge as the journey continues. Will I be treated like a nursing student although I have graduated from nursing school? A: The nurse internship has been in existence for over 3 years at NMCSD, therefore almost everyone is very familiar with the program and treats you like part of the staff. Will I have enough time to find a place to live and unpack? A: The internship is flexible and will allow plenty of time to find a place and be able to move in. Don't stress!