Nursing Perioperative School for Surgical Services

St. Vincent's HealthCare (SVHC) is committed to providing its patients with the highest standards of healthcare, and that means having the most compassionate and qualified nursing staff available.

In order to enhance clinical training within the OR and promote professional growth and excellence within perioperative nursing, St. Vincent's Medical Center's (SVMC) Operating Room Leadership partnered with the University of North Florida in 1992 to develop the Perioperative Nursing Summer Work Study Program, a collaborative work-study extern program.

Detailing a range of work within the entire perioperative setting and utilizing a preceptor-guided practice component, the work study program was designed to help nursing candidates reach their full potential as Registered Nurses in an OR setting.

Program Specifics 

Since 1992, the program has been expanded to include five universities in the Northeast Florida and South Georgia region and has switched from a 12-week program to two six-week programs, doubling the number of students that can be accepted and easing scheduling conflicts. By functioning as "externs," students are able to work closely with nursing staff at SVMC, learning perioperative procedures and patient advocacy alongside seasoned professionals, and establishing strong lines of communication between nursing candidates and other associates.

After graduation, externs can stay with SVMC to complete a nine-month perioperative internship in the OR. 

St. Vincent's School of Perioperative Nursing has been ranked among the top five in the nation by the Health Care Advisory Board from 1996-2005. The Advisory Board is a membership of 2,500 of the country's largest and most progressive health systems and medical centers. The Advisory Board provides best practices research and analysis to the healthcare industry, focusing on business strategy, operations, and general management issues


Skills that students develop as a perioperative extern are some of the most transferable assets found in today's work place. They include:

  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Technical skills

Enrollment Qualifications

Enrollment qualifications for the OR externship include being a junior enrolled in a state approved bachelor nursing program. Students who are interested must submit a letter of intent to Amy Beardsley and Robert Bond by March 31. Acceptance is based upon a panel interview process, and whether the student will fit with the OR culture of dealing with an intense environment that is constantly changing.