I spent over 300 hours in the Thoracic Unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital during the summer externship. That is double the time that capstone provides as this experience far exceeds any capstone placement. I feel that the externship was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I found my niche in nursing via working in a high acuity setting; subsequently, have even more passion for critical care. The program did pair me with an expert nurse; he is the greatest preceptor from all my clinical experiences. I will never forget the experience he provided because I had the chance to seek all the opportunities I desired. Contribution as a team member allows for increasing critical thinking in the professional role of nursing. My love for nursing became real during the externship. Confidence builds throughout the experience due to being part of a team atmosphere. There is a stark difference between clinical rotation during school and the experience at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. During nursing school in clinical rotation, I had explicitly been told I was there to perform tasks. I think a lot of people feel inadequate during nursing school, but I rarely felt that way during this externship. A dream come true! With great pleasure, I can announce that I have an ICU job in a hospital that serves the highest acuity patients in the Kansas City area because of Barnes-Jewish Hospital summer externship. 

Robert Smallwood

Saint Luke's College of Nursing

The summer externship was the best choice I could have made prior to senior year. My mentor became a mentor for me for the rest of my nursing career, and someone who will be my reference when I apply for jobs. I learned so much working at one of the top 10 hospitals in America. When I made simple mistakes, I alway felt comfortable with my nurse mentor and learned so much about what it means to truly be a nurse. I fell in love with my patients and the floor and I learned so much from every nurse on the floor."

Andrea Heinemann

Rockwood University

Getting to experience the UMSL- BJC externship at Missouri Baptist Medical Center was the best thing I have ever done for my nursing career! My mentor was very nice and encouraging along with the rest of the floor making sure I got to learn and see as much as I could. Working right beside an experienced nurse for 360 hours taught me more than any text book or clinical could ever. By the end of the summer I was taking 5 of the patients and completing total care with the assistance of my nurse, making me feel like a real nurse.

Not only did I truly enjoy going into every 12 hour shift, but I also enjoyed the classes. Getting to go to the different BJC campuses and learning new information was a unique experience.

I recommend this program to any nursing student entering their senior year, there is nothing better. The instructors from UMSL did a great job at putting the program together making sure we all got the best experience.

Megan Slattery


I was able to participate in the UMSL Externship during the summer of 2015 between my Junior and Senior year. I went to a school on the east coast, but lived in the St. Louis area, and had heard that this kind of program would be  an extremely beneficial experience. I was very honored to be chosen to participate, and was paired with an RN in a specialty float pool who worked mainly in the ICU. Critical Care was not something I was interested in (it kind of scared me, honestly!), but over the ten weeks I worked with my nurse, I began to really enjoy my time in the ICU. I learned so much, and became so comfortable in that environment, that in the following semester of my program I did very well in Critical Care and requested my practicum in an ICU. This has lead to me being hired this past fall to work in an ICU in the St. Louis area; without the experience I'd already had in this area, I was assured this wouldn't have been a possibility for a new grad. I probably never would have considered the ICU if I hadn't had the opportunity to work in that area as a student.   

The training and exposure of the Externship was helpful in ways I can't even quantify. The classes we took throughout, and the intentional help of the faculty in the classroom and on the floor, were very helpful and made it a great experience. I was so impressed by the UMSL School of Nursing, that I'm currently considering them for my Doctorate in Nurse Practitioner.  

Ten weeks of real RN exposure, along with helpful classes and a knowledgeable, supportive faculty, which you are also getting paid for? One of the wisest decisions I've ever made!

Katie Warix

Bob Jones University

Christian Hospital

The UMSL/BJC summer externship was the best thing I have done in nursing school. While I agree that classroom learning and knowledge are required to become a nurse, real, hands-on experience with patients and other nurses, in order to put into practice those things that have been learned in the classroom, is the best way to truly learn and understand a concept. Going through my final year of nursing school with the experience and confidence I gained during the externship has made a notable difference in my grades and clinical performance. The externship helped me to see what working as nurse in my career will be like, and I am more excited than ever to be in this field.

Ashley Christman

Maryville University

BJSP - 2016

The BJC-UMSL nurse externship program was by far the BEST experience I have had throughout nursing school. Being a nursing student from Wisconsin, this program allowed me to learn in a whole new environment and push me out of my comfort zone. I was initially a little nervous about being in new city for 10 weeks, but the experience I had was beyond amazing. I was an extern on the Neurosciences Unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and loved every second of my ten weeks working there. I had a great preceptor who taught more than I thought I could possibly learn in such a short time frame. My preceptor and all the nurses on the unit made me feel like I was a real nurse and a part of the team. What I found most helpful about this program, was it allowed me to experience what it is like to actually be a nurse. It allowed me the repetition I needed to master and grow more confident in my skills.  I also got to work on a specialized unit with kids who had seizure disorders, trachs and vents, G-tubes, EVDs, spinal surgeries and much more than I got to experience during school clinical. Not only that, but I learned what it’s like to prioritize and manage taking care of multiple patients at the same time, I was also able to apply what I’ve learned in school to real life scenarios. By the end of the program, I was basically doing all the duties of a nurse, just under the supervision of my preceptor. Going into senior year, I felt 100 times more confident in my nursing abilities. If I could go back and repeat this program, I would in a heartbeat. I recommend this program to anyone who wants to gain GREAT experience in amazing hospitals.

Christina Heckman

St. Louis Children’s Hospital Extern – Neurosciences Unit (2016)

Viterbo University – La Crosse, WI 

I think this Externship was truly a wonderful experience that helped me gain skills and knowledge that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.  It helped me line up a job that I cannot wait to start, and I definitely would not be as prepared to graduate as I am without this Externship

Emily Bollinger

University of South Carolina

The externship program was easily the highlight of my nursing experience thus far. As an extern in the PICU at Children's, I was able to build confidence in my assessments and nursing skills. I learned how to prioritize, delegate and organize every situation that I encountered. The ten weeks that I spent in the PICU were far more beneficial than all of the clinical experiences I have had during nursing school. Not only did I expand on my own nursing skills, but I also learned how to communicate with physicians, pharmacists, and nurse practitioners in order to provide interdisciplinary care for my patients. It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime and such a blessing to work with my preferred patient population and an awesome staff! I am immensely blessed by the entire St. Louis Children's Hospital family and could not thank them enough for everything they've done for me. I HIGHLY recommend this program to every nursing student!

-Bethany Triplett, University of Florida

I absolutely enjoyed being an UMSL extern at St. Louis Children’s Hospital working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Coming from the Washington, D.C. area, I was extremely nervous about participating in the ten week program and being away from family and friends. Now, I am sure that choosing to take part in the program was the BEST choice I could have ever made. I had the opportunity to work with several excellent nurses who helped me with my critical thinking and taught me nursing skills. The clinical and classroom experiences were incredible and the knowledge I acquired is invaluable! Everyone involved in the externship was wonderful, including the BJC recruiters, professors, and nurse mentors. I recommend others to participate in this externship without reservation.

Shadiya Satterfield – Howard University Division of Nursing

The UMSL/BJC Student Nurse Externship program was a great experience! I worked in the float pool at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. I had the opportunity to see every part of the hospital- ER, PICU, CICU, NICU, and all the floors. Those 10 weeks were filled with the most valuable learning experiences I have had throughout my nursing school career. Working one-on-one with a very experienced mentor, in such a fabulous hospital, gave me the opportunity to see the nursing world from a different perspective than that of a student in clinicals. I believe I gained an abundance of experience, knowledge, and confidence over the summer. It was a great transition into my senior year and an opportunity of a lifetime.

Beth Kreke, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

During my externship experience at St. Louis Children's Hospital Hematology and Oncology unit, I learned so much more than I ever expected.  Walking onto the floor that first day was really overwhelming and I had no clue how I was going to be able to understand what all happened on the floor.  Soon enough, though, I was learning and doing more than I could have imagined.  Looking back now, this externship was the absolute best summer program I could have asked for in working toward my goal as a nurse.  In these ten weeks my clinical and critically thinking skills were greatly refined and I felt so much more confident in my choice to be a nurse.   The children I worked with brought smiles to my faces every day and the nurses were incredible teachers and mentors throughout the whole program.  My personal mentor pushed me to open my comfort zone, broadening my horizons in nursing practice.  This program packed in everything I wanted to learn this summer and more through class and clinical.  I really couldn't have asked for a better experience opportunity!

- Renee Buettner, 2012 Externship St. Louis Children's Hospital

This externship program was the best experience I have had while in nursing school. The program was well organized and I learned a great deal from my fellow externs during the class component. It gave me the opportunity to build confidence in myself and gain hands on experience. The skills I learned over the summer will be useful all throughout my nursing career. It was definitely a worth while experience!!

Kelly Hermann

Senior Nursing Student

Maryville University


Seriously, it was the best possible experience I could have gotten in nursing school. The skills I learned and perfected were above and beyond anything I could have ever learned in clinical, and I am grateful I was able to have that opportunity. I also believe that it helped me figure out exactly what I want to do with my nursing degree (O.R.) when I get out of school. Having the opportunity to pick fields you're interested in allows you to experience what a real RN does in that specialty, so it really gives you an idea if that's something you want to do or not. Those three months were better than any clinical rotation I have ever had, bar none.

Garret Gutting

University of Missouri-St. Louis

College of Nursing

This externship experience has open different doors of opportunities for me. This experience provided opportunities to advance my clinical skills. The program was well structured; we had clinical practice at the hospital with a preceptor and classroom discussion incorporated together.. The hospital (St. Louis Children̓s Hospital) atmosphere provides different learning experience and the staffs are always willing to teach. Through this externship, I was able to determine my career path. It was definitely one of the best summers of my college career!!

Opi Kemiki

Penn State

I truly loved this externship experience. It taught me so much about myself as a person and as a nurse. I feel much more confident in my nursing skills and capable in my abilities. I am so looking forward graduating and beginning my practice. When I compare my experience with my classmates, I can certainly see that I got the best experience available for students.


Kathleen Quinlan

St. Mary’s University