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Lamar nursing student receives rare externship

Lamar nursing student Cara Shrontz has been selected by the Mayo Clinic for the Summer III Nursing Externship in Rochester, Minnesota. More than 1,000 students from around the country apply annually for the opportunity to study at the Mayo Clinic, but only 108 are selected. Of those, only three students are from Texas.

Shrontz was assigned to work in the emergency room, a privilege afforded to only two externs. She will work in the emergency department at St. Mary’s Hospital for 10 weeks, from June through August, alongside a registered nurse clinical coach to experience nursing care in both inpatient units and operating rooms.

Shrontz received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas-Dallas. She then did volunteer work in Senegal, West Africa, an experience that led to her decision to become a nurse. In August 2010, she began working toward her degree and is now in her third semester of the bachelor degree in nursing program at Lamar.

To improve her skills and gain experience, she decided to apply for this unique opportunity. Acceptance into the Mayo Clinic externship required the submission of two essays, a resume and cover letter and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. A background check was also necessary to get medical clearance in Minnesota.

“I am excited to work at the Mayo Clinic for three months and meet nursing students from across the country,” Shrontz said. “I also cannot wait to experience Mayo’s Level 1 trauma center, and learn from my clinical coaches.” She is extremely grateful for the help of her mother, sister, and to Cindy Stinson, associate professor at Lamar, for their support of her nursing endeavors.

“The JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing encourages our students to seek outside learning opportunities,” Stinson said.  “We believe our students receive an excellent educational opportunity at Lamar that allows them to practice anywhere.  We are so proud of Cara and this opportunity. She is a competent nursing student and an inspiration to me because I believe she truly has the ability to be an excellent nurse and has a bright future ahead of her. She has ambition and a caring nature that cannot be taught.”

Shrontz plans a career in critical care, and after gaining more experience in nursing, she plans to return to school to receive her master’s degree. She would like to eventually work in medical administration.