Majority of Jefferson College of Nursing graduates begin their careers at Jefferson.
In recent years, nearly 60% of Jefferson College of Nursing graduates have begun their nursing careers at Jefferson Health. A vast majority of nursing students complete their clinical rotations at various Jefferson hospitals and often accept full-time positions within the system.
Dr. Marie Marino, the Dean of the College of Nursing, and Dr. Kate FitzPatrick, the Connelly Foundation Chief Nurse Executive Officer at Jefferson Health , have a unique relationship that allows students to enhance their skills at hospitals within Jefferson Heath.
“The clinical training opportunities my students have at Jefferson Health lay the strongest foundation for our graduates,” Dr. Marino says. “We believe this training positions them to be successful anywhere but also believe the best place to actualize their first professional role is here at Jefferson Health.”
Donna Hendrickson, a 2023 graduate, accepted a position as a registered nurse in the medical intensive care unit (MICU) at Jefferson Abington Hospital. She says her experience as a Jefferson student shaped how she will continue her career.
“Going to Jefferson for clinical rotations gave me a taste of what working at Jefferson would be like. I’ve already gotten to know my manager and coworkers,” she says. “Jefferson was my dream school. It was the only school I applied to. I’m thrilled I will stay in the Jefferson family.”
Hendrickson’s new manager, Kimberly Tha, says she hired her based on glowing feedback from her team. They noted how Hendrickson routinely helped out, took notes and asked to observe procedures.
“Donna always comes to me with whatever questions, comments or concerns she has,” Tha says. “I value her feedback and appreciate her input. Donna will be an excellent addition to the MICU as an RN.”
At Jefferson, students receive hands-on clinical training to prepare them for the workforce. For example, nursing student Armani Gregory recently accepted a position at 5W, the advanced heart failure ICCU at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
When Gregory started at Jefferson, he thought he wanted to work in the emergency department. However, through his clinical rotations, he found a passion for the cardiac care unit, something his future colleagues noticed as well.
At a January hiring event, one of her nurses recommended Gregory to manager Erin Kelley, who also noted Gregory’s initiative. “He was proactive to be sure he got 5W for capstone so he could get a jump on learning the day-to-day before he starts in June,” Kelley says. “I’m excited to add him to our team.”
To incoming students, Hendrickson and Gregory recommend treating every clinical rotation as a professional interview. Offer to help, ask questions and get to know the unit nurses and managers.
“Be outgoing and get your hands dirty,” Gregory stresses. “If you see something you like, dive in.”
College of Nursing leadership is always looking for ways to enhance nursing education, Dr. Marino says. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Nurses for Tomorrow recently awarded the college a grant to support undergraduate, graduate and doctoral nursing students enrolled in the 2023-2024 academic year.
“The Nurses for Tomorrow program demonstrates the Foundation’s strong commitment to ensuring we have a robust pipeline of nurses prepared to provide high-level, quality care to those that need it, especially the underserved,” Dr. Marino says. “This support amplifies our synergistic missions to prepare nurse leaders who will serve communities here in southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond.”