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2015 Capstone Spotlight

Natalie Skinner and Amber Wright share about their 2015 capstone practicum through UW School of Nursing.

Left, Natalie Skinner  / Right, Amber Wright

The last semester of the Basic BSN program contains the Capstone Practicum, a precepted final clinical course that assists students in synthesizing basic concepts of professional nursing. Students gain confidence, practice clinical reasoning and leadership skills, communicate effectively with the interprofessional team, apply ethical decision-making skills and develop evidence-based practice. Two students share about their experiences:

Natalie Skinner

Evanston Regional Hospital

My capstone experience at Evanston Regional Hospital (ERH) has been incredible! I was lucky enough to be placed in the Emergency Room for my entire practicum. I have a strong desire to specialize and practice Emergency Medicine, and this furthered my ambition to pursue this dream of mine. I have learned so much from all of the nurses and doctors here at ERH. I was able to perform and strengthen a broad range of skills throughout these past few months. I have practiced IVs, catheters, blood draws, NG tubes, OG tubes, suctioning, administering medications (all routes), CPR, assisting the CRNA with intubation, EKGs, assisting the ER MDs with laceration repairs and splinting, application of preformed ortho equipment, suture removals, feeding tube placement, dressing changes and wound care, flu washes, RSV swabs, breathing treatments, restraining patients per doctor's orders, fingerstick blood sugar checks, and much more. I have also been able to sharpen and refine my head-to-toe bedside assessments and focused assessments. Calling and giving report to other nurses was something that has always intimidated me, but after just a few short weeks of being at ERH my preceptor encouraged me to step up and do it. I now have no trouble and am confident in giving report both in person or over the phone to the higher level of care hospitals.

I have had numerous experiences that were extremely rewarding while at ERH. One experience that I will never forget was on my second day, when a code was paged overhead in CT. My nurse was on the phone at the time and just turned and yelled for me to go. I got to CT and assisted the nurses and techs that had already responded in transferring the patient off of the CT table and onto a gurney where we then rushed the patient back to the ER. Once in the ER, I took my turn performing chest compressions. We recovered the patient twice; on the last time she remained with us. I then assisted the CRNA with intubating the patient and placing an OG tube. My nurse and I then placed a foley catheter and did our best to clean up the patient while awaiting the arrival of AirMed. The best part about caring for this patient came just a few days later when the University of Utah Hospital called our ER Medical Doctor to let her know that the patient survived and was actually extubated that night and diagnosed with pneumonia and influenza B.

I can honestly say that this incredible experience would not have been anything near what it is without the very helpful and welcoming ER nurses. My preceptor, Erin, was a perfect fit for me. She is always upbeat, positive, and willing to help me in anyway that she can to better my experience. All of the nurses have been awesome about coming to find me to start IVs, catheters, and any other skills that provided me with the opportunity to better my skills and expand my knowledge.


I am very thankful for this practicum component of the nursing program. I have been provided with various rewarding experiences throughout these past few months. This capstone experience has furthered my desire and passion to pursue and specialize in Emergency Medicine. I will be saddened when it comes time for me to leave ERH because I feel like I have become part of the team in the ER. I feel like without this practicum I would not feel ready to make the transition from student nurse to professional registered nurse. I have also come to realize that I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I am ready to take on that challenge and become the compassionate, hardworking, and skillful nurse I have always dreamed of being.

Amber Wright

Poudre Valley Hospital

My placement on the Pediatric Plus unit at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, was absolutely amazing. I was able to care for children of all ages with all different types of conditions. Most of my patients had respiratory illnesses and were quite young. Because there were so many respiratory cases, I became really familiar with identifying the different types of lung sounds. It was also great to work with the family members of all of the kids! This experience confirmed that pediatric nursing is what I want to do with my career.

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center

The other half of my placement was on the Transitional Care Unit at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The patient population on this floor consists of adults with all different types of diagnoses who need rehab before transitioning out of the hospital setting. On this unit, I got to learn about all different types of conditions, how to treat them, what medications to use, lab and diagnostic testing, and I got to practice many of my nursing skills.


I have really enjoyed my senior practicum and experiences throughout the program. It is exciting to work as a full time nurse and put all of the knowledge I have learned over the years to use while also learning new information every day. Although I know I have a lot left to learn, I feel that I am prepared to practice safely as a nurse.

Natalie Skinner

Natalie Skinner
My capstone experience at Evanston Regional Hospital has been incredible!...This capstone experience has furthered my desire and passion to pursue and specialize in Emergency Medicine.

Amber Wright

Amber Wright
My placement on the Pediatric Plus unit at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, was absolutely amazing...This experience confirmed that pediatric nursing is what I what to do with my career.

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