School of Nursing

Geary Co-operative Student Nurse Internship Program

Maine Medical Center and the University of Southern Maine School of Nursing


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 (USM). Dr. Geary was a strong advocate for students and 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 and together they developed the summer co-operative experience. This initiative, which is approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing, 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 (MMC).


What is the difference between the Summer 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 section below regarding role, orientation and CBO)   

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. In contrast, 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 a MMC Director to assure that the student and unit are a good match. USM students must also enroll in the course NUR 386, a 2-credit elective.


In order to apply to 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, at the time of application, grades through fall 2017. If the student is accepted, this 2.75 GPA also must be maintained through spring 2018 courses.

3. At the time of application in January 2018, have successfully completed OR BE ENROLLED FOR SPRING 2018 in NUR 323 and NUR 325 (A grade of C+ or higher in all Spring 2018 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. It is recommended that students not take any additional summer courses. Students in the summer Dominican Republic partnership trip or any other international course trip during the summer will not be eligible to be accepted into the Summer Geary Internship due to scheduling challenges. The MMC work schedule is completely dictated by the hiring unit and the availability of individual preceptors. Chosen Geary candidates must arrange to be present at a five-day orientation the first week of June at the beginning of the Geary employment. Please be aware that this a pass/fail course with assignments and class meetings at times that will be announced.


Application Process for the Geary Co-op (two parts, USM and MMC)

Here are the steps to complete your application:

1.  Send application for the Geary Internship course - Due by January 29, 2018. Submit by email to Elaine Ogrodnik The subject line of your email application should read “Geary Co-op Application (insert your name).” Include two items in this email:

    • A letter of interest (cover letter) which includes: 1) an introduction of yourself (what level student you are, 2) a statement of previous care-giving (or none) and relevant other degrees or health care employment (or none), 3) a summary of  how this summer internship would strengthen your nursing areas for improvement. Describe how this experience will improve your knowledge, skills and/or behaviors as a nurse. 4) How will you adjust your summer plans to make the Geary experience a priority. This cover letter may also be helpful with your MMC application. You will be submitting your resume and cover letter with your MMC application process. It may be read by the nursing director of the unit.
    • Name of faculty reference. In your email, include the name of a clinical instructor or lab instructor who has agreed to provide a reference. You must send the attached Faculty Reference for Geary form to the faculty member for completion.  Your faculty reference will be asked to comment on your specific needs as a growing nurse, your reliability, communication skills, 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.

2.  By January 29, 2018 complete this Geary Co-op Schedule Information Form by clicking on this link:  Preference for Geary placements will be given to those students who will not have other courses during the Summer 2018. Students who will be enrolled in summer international trips of significant duration such as the Dominican Republic partnership or the Ireland trip will not be eligible for the summer internship.

3. Between January 15, 2018 and before February 23, 2018 each applicant must complete the MMC job application for a “Nurse Associate-Float Pool” position when this is posted to the site. The MMC job posting will be available beginning January 15, 2018 until it closes on February 23, 2018. The posting will appear as “Nurse Associate” in the Float Pool. This is the temporary job posting for all of the Student Nurse Associates and Geary Co-op Students. MMC will notify you when your application is complete. If a student is not selected by USM faculty for a Geary position, you may ask to be considered for a non-Geary MMC Nurse Associate position.

4.  Prior to April 27, 2018 Each Geary Co-op student must be officially listed on the State of Maine CNA registry. Students may inquire about the registry process at

5.  Summer registration. If you have been selected for the Geary Co-op, (committee will send you an email) you must enroll in NUR 386 which is the 2-credit Summer Elective Course that will meet across both summer sessions. Please be aware that this is a pass/fail course with online and face to face classes, assignments, and requires a high level of student engagement.


Preceptors and their Role

The intent of the program is to allow students to perform in the MMC employee role first as a CNA, and then 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 4, 2018. 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 4, 2018. 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 core competency based orientation (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 student 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 successful 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 (CBO) tool and the unit specific CBO tool.
  • The co-op student, faculty member, and preceptor will identify performance gaps and learning priorities.
  • Goals for the summer will be identified with an agreed upon plan and time lines for goal achievement.
  • Evaluation is ongoing.


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, a student performance evaluation visit with the student, preceptor, and faculty member will take place.  The student and preceptor document clinical hours and achievement of performance on a form provided. The Geary course evaluation will be completed by the faculty member.

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

Questions about the MMC application process may be referred to the MMC Talent Acquisition Coordinator, Melissa McManus, (207) 662-2680 or


Updated 1/4/2018