New SSM program offers pay and college credits in STL

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ST. LOUIS – SSM Health has launched a new program that could allow nursing students in the St. Louis area to earn salary and college credits at the same time.

The health system’s new “external nurse” program, launched in May, has already attracted 78 nursing students from 17 schools in five states. The program comes as hospitals and health systems across the country face nursing shortages.

Like an internship program, externs gain valuable experience by training and working alongside SSM Health staff nurses. Clerks work on patient floors, in behavioral health, emergency rooms and labor and delivery departments, with plans to expand offerings to the operating room and cath labs.

“Nursing is a very rewarding career, and it’s important that we provide exposure to all of the opportunities that exist within a system as large as SSM Health,” said Amber Wood, Vice President of Health System SSM for clinical training and clinical placements. “The program also helps student nurses know what to expect when they transition to full-time work.

Day students are paid hourly for their efforts and receive tuition reimbursement.

Externs serve most of SSM Health’s hospitals in the St. Louis area with plans to expand into the tri-state area where SSM Health treats patients.

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