The Winter Haven Hospital Foundation has fully funded the first Faculty Externship Program with Polk State College, enabling nursing professors Jillian Capper and Sara Triplett to engage in a transformative experience. This program allowed them, as faculty members, to spend three to five weeks at BayCare’s Winter Haven Women’s Hospital, gaining firsthand insights into the evolving healthcare landscape.

This unique externship program, the first of its kind within BayCare, originally planned for next summer, was expedited with the support of the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation’s $33,000 donation. The funds covered the entire program, fostering a collaborative effort between academia and healthcare.

Jillian and Sara’s immersion in various hospital units, facilitated by Lisa Schlagel and the nursing team, showcased the dynamic nature of nursing practices. Their experiences ranged from witnessing advanced robotic surgeries to understanding the transition from paper to electronic documentation. The Winter Haven Hospital Foundation’s financial contribution played a crucial role in making this program a reality.

Through this externship, Jillian and Sara were able to tailor their experiences to their specific interests, a feature that will continue to be a hallmark of the program. The valuable lessons learned, from embracing technological advancements to adapting to evolving healthcare expectations, will be brought back to the classroom, enriching the education of future nurses.