School of Nursing

Geary Cooperative



Geary Co-operative Program

In collaboration with USM 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. 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 and together developed the summer co-operative experience. This educational opportunity combines a two-credit USM elective course (NUR 386) with a paid summer clinical preceptorship with an RN at Maine Medical Center.

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

Both are participants of the Student Nurse Employment Program (SNEP), MMC’s summer internship.  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.  USM students must also enroll in the course NUR 386, a 2 credit elective.

A pilot program being planned during the summer of 2015 may offer several Geary nursing students with an opportunity to collaborate with Tufts medical students in a multidisciplinary learning experience. Details are anticipated in April or May 2015.

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, through fall 2014. To be accepted in the program, this 2.75 GPA also must be maintained through spring 2015 courses.

3. At the time of application in January 2015, have successfully completed OR BE ENROLLED FOR SPRING 2015 in NUR 323 and NUR 325. (A grade of C or higher in all Spring 2015 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 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 associated reading and periodic class meetings at times that will be announced.

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, 2015 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 you need improvement. Describe how this experience will improve your 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 your 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 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 but if it will be delayed, please let us know who will be sending it.

3.   A temporary transcript printed from Mainestreet that shows your grades as of Fall 2014 and your cumulative GPA. This does not need to be an official or sealed, notarized copy; a print out from Mainestreet is fine.

4.   A completed “Scheduling Information Form for Geary”. Preference will be given to those students who will not have other courses during the Summer 2015.

5. Students must complete the job application to MMC for a “Nurse Associate” position when this is posted to the site.  The MMC job posting will be available from January 19 until the close of business on February 16. Please don’t risk a late application. 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.  When your application is received, MMC will notify you when your application is complete. If a student does not get a Geary position, you may ask to be considered for a non-Geary Nurse Associate (SNEP) job.

6.    Be officially listed on the State of Maine CNA registry prior to April 10, 2015.

       Students may inquire about the registry process at

7. Complete the MMC application and the USM application for the Geary Co-Op by the due dates.

8. If you have been selected for the Geary Coop, you must enroll in NUR 386 which is the 2 credit Summer Elective Course that will meet during the summer semester. Please be aware that this is a pass/fail course with associated reading and class meetings at times to be announced.

Preceptors and their Role

The intent of the program is to allow students to 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.


External candidates (Student is not currently employed by MMC):

All external candidates hired into the program will start the first week of June, 2015.  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)

Internal candidates hired into the program will also start the first week of June, 2015. 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.

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.
  • 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.

The 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 a form for course evaluation.


At the end of the summer semester, an evaluation 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.

The USM School of Nursing will coordinate, screen 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, 780-4450

Questions about the MMC application process may be referred to Cindy Cherner, MMC Human Resources Employment Specialist at 662-2325 

Updated 01/08/15