School of Nursing

Geary Cooperative





The Geary program for baccalaureate nursing students is a unique and valuable program named for its founder, Dr. Patricia Geary, a former Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Southern Maine. Dr. Geary was a strong advocate for students. She had a special commitment to students with diverse learning needs. She recognized students could gain extremely valuable experiences when precepted by excellent practicing professional nurses and sought to create a model to support such additional learning experiences.  Dean Geary pursued this goal by negotiating with nursing colleagues at Maine Medical Center who together developed the summer co-operative experience. This initiative combines a paid CNA role based summer employment program with a two credit USM course elective clinical preceptorship under the oversight of an RN preceptor at Maine Medical Center.

What is the difference between the Geary Co-Op Student and a Nurse Associate Student at MMC?

Both are participants of the MMC Summer Student Nurse Employment Program (SNEP) program.  Both positions are hired based upon the role and scope of CNA practice and should be first oriented to that role with the intent of assuming a patient assignment based on the unit CNA role. (See sections on role, orientation and CBO (Competency Based Orientation) )

Once the orientation as a CNA has been successfully completed, the Geary co-op employee may participate, as appropriate and time allows, in selected experiences as defined in the CBO tool under the supervision of the preceptor.  By the Maine State Board of Nursing regulations, the Geary students are allowed to administer medications, participate in IV medications, and perform nursing procedures with the direct supervision of the preceptor because this is an academically supervised clinical experience.  Nurse Associates are authorized to provide only selected patient care activities and are not authorized to perform professional nursing duties. USM students in the Geary Co-op apply through the School of Nursing and are selected by a faculty advisory panel.  Selected students meet with an MMC Director to assure that the student and unit are a good match and the Director makes the final hiring decision.  USM students must also enroll in the course NUR 386, a 2 credit elective.

To Qualify for the Geary Summer Co-operative Internship the student must:

1. Be in good standing with the University of Southern Maine.

2. Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or above, through fall 2015. To be accepted in the program, this 2.75 GPA also must be maintained through spring 2016 courses.

3. At the time of application in January 2016, have successfully completed OR BE ENROLLED FOR SPRING 2016 in NUR 323 and NUR 325. (A grade of C+ or higher in all Spring 2016 NUR courses is required to remain a qualified candidate)

4. Understand the high level of commitment to this course and its 320 hours of employment. This summer work typically requires 36-40 hours per week, thus the student must make this Geary employment a high priority even if taking other University courses. It is recommended that students not take any additional summer courses. The position schedule is completely dictated by the hiring unit and the availability of individual preceptors. Chosen Geary candidates must arrange to be present at a 5 day required orientation the first week of June at the beginning of the Geary employment. Students must be aware that this a pass/fail course with associated reading and periodic class meetings at times that will be announced.

What is the Application Process for the Geary Co-op?

Students must send the following items TOGETHER IN ONE EMAIL (references are the only exception): These materials are due by January 30, 2016 to Elaine Ogrodnik   The subject line of your application materials should read “Complete Geary Co-op Application and (insert your name)”

1. A letter of interest (cover letter) with a statement of previous care-giving or educational experience and how that would enhance a successful Geary experience. Students are asked to express their strengths as well as specific areas of nursing where improvement is needed. Describe how this experience will improve knowledge, skills and behaviors as a nurse. What are the reasons that you would be a good candidate for the internship? This cover letter may also be helpful with your MMC job process. You will be submitting a resume and cover letter with your MMC application process and will be read by the nursing director of the unit.

2.   One reference form from a clinical or lab faculty. We ask the clinical instructor or laboratory faculty to send an email reference that addresses your needs as a growing nurse, your reliability, communication skills and knowledge and growth potential. MMC will likely ask you for contact information for references that extend beyond this faculty reference. Please ask your faculty reference to submit it by the due date of the application.  The Geary selection faculty will follow up if the reference is delayed. Student must let us know who that reference person is.

3.   A temporary transcript printed from Mainestreet that shows your grades as of fall 2015 and the cumulative GPA. This does not need to be an official or sealed, notarized copy; a print out from Mainestreet is acceptable.

4.   A completed Scheduling Information Form for Geary. Preference will be given to those students who will not have other courses during the summer 2016.

5. Students must complete the job application to MMC for a “Nurse Associate- Float Pool” position when this is posted to the Maine Medical Center jobs site.  The MMC job posting will be available from January 18, 2016 until February 16, 2016. This application must be received by the closing due date of February 16. This is the temporary job posting for all of the Student Nurse Associates and Geary Co-op Students.  When the application is received and completed, MMC will notify the student. If a student does not get a Geary position, they may ask to be considered for a non-Geary Nurse Associate (SNEP) position.

6. Be officially listed on the State of Maine CNA registry prior to April 29, 2016.   Students may inquire about the registry process at

7. Selected students for Geary must enroll in NUR 386 which is the 2 credit Summer Elective Course that will meet during the summer semester. This is a pass/fail course with associated reading and class meetings at times to be announced.

What is the Role of the Preceptor?

The intent of the program is to allow students to perform in the MMC employee role as a C.N.A, and as appropriate, gain valuable additional clinical experience and to practice applying nursing knowledge, skills and attitudes already learned in the student’s program of study. An experienced and consistent preceptor who knows the student will help facilitate the student’s growth as a professional nurse.

The Geary student will follow the preceptor’s schedule.  During the preceptor’s absence, the student may be placed with a second preceptor who understands the expectations of the program and has agreed to work with the Geary student.

Geary Co-op Orientation

All Geary candidates hired into the program will start June 6, 2016.  The majority of the first week is dedicated to an orientation to MMC and the Department of Nursing. New hires must complete the full Human Resources Orientation, selected nursing orientation classes as defined by MMC, the “Introduction to the SNEP Program” class and computer training. The schedule is coordinated through the Center for Clinical and Professional Development in partnership with Human Resources. Successful completion of medication administration and IV self-studies and tests are required prior to engaging in associated practices. Unit specific orientation is organized through the clinical preceptor once the general orientation requirements have been met.

Internal transfers (Student is currently an employee of MMC)hired into the program will also start June 6, 2016. They will attend selected nursing orientation classes, the “Introduction to the SNEP Program” class, computer updates, and meet with their Staff Development Specialist.  Successful completion of medication administration and IV self-studies and tests are required prior to engaging in associated practices. The remainder of the orientation will take place on the unit with the preceptor.

Unit specific orientation is organized through the clinical preceptor after the general orientation requirements have been met.

  • The Geary Co-op employee performs primarily in the CNA role which is clearly outlined in the SNEP-Geary CBO tool. The length of orientation for the Geary as a CNA will vary. For those who are new to the CNA registry with no prior experience as a CNA, the timeline for orientation will align with the 3-4 week timeframe for MMC’s newly hired CNAs.
  • For those who have practiced in the CNA role at MMC or elsewhere prior to becoming a SNEP, the time line for completion of orientation and assumption of a CNA care assignment should be far less.
  • Once orientation to the role of the CNA has been completed with assumption of care assignments, the Geary and preceptor may explore additional experiences as defined by the SNEP-Geary CBO tool. Medication administration and IV therapy practices are considered only after the completion of the CNA orientation and completion of MMC’s medication and IV tests.


For all Geary Co-op students:

  • A performance needs assessment will be conducted using the Geary co-op core competency based orientation tool (CBO) and the unit specific CBO tool.
  • The co-op student, faculty and preceptor will identify performance gaps and learning priorities.  Based on these, student goals (called a Learning Contract) for the summer will be identified with an agreed upon plan and time lines for goal achievement.
  • Evaluation is ongoing.
  • Geary students are expected to attend the summer SNEP CELEBRATION. Preceptors are strongly encouraged to accompany them and assist in the evaluation of the experience. The date and time for this will be announced.

Final Evaluation

The Geary student will be asked to complete an evaluation and provide feedback relative to their experience at the end of the program. Their completed CBO tool will be sent to Human Resources at the end of the summer. In addition, the Nursing Director will provide an overall evaluation to be shared with the Geary student and sent to Human Resources. USM also has their own internal form for course evaluation.


At the end of the summer semester, an evaluation visit with the student, preceptor, and faculty member will take place.  The student and preceptor document clinical hours on a form provided.  Two evaluation forms are to be completed with one given to USM and the other to Maine Medical Center Human Resources.

Contact Persons for problems or questions about the Geary Summer Cooperative Program

The USM School of Nursing will coordinate, screen student candidates for qualifications, and meet with MMC to coordinate this program.  Questions about Geary application may be referred to the program coordinator, Jean Dvorak, MS, RN, at USM, (207) 780-4450

Questions about the MMC application process may be referred to Cindy Cherner, MaineHealth Talent Acquisition Partner at (207) 662-2325       

Updated 1/07/2016