The lack of student experience in critical care makes it difficult for graduate nurses to anticipate what expectations and demands might confront them in intensive care. Consequently, some new graduates discounted critical care as an opportunity available to them. Our institution believed that critical care had special qualities and if those qualities could be demonstrated to nurses, recruitment would improve. An unexpected benefit from the program was the positive staff nurse response to showcasing their skills and expertise. The success of the program was evidenced by the student evaluations and the hiring of students. To date, seven nursing students out of 20 who attended the program have been hired by the hospital. The long-term impact of the program on retention and recruitment is difficult to predict. The department will track these students, as they do all new hires; however, the initial success warranted continuation of the program. Student response to the program has resulted in plans to expand the "shadow a nurse" concept housewide to showcase the nursing specialities such as rehabilitation, maternal/child health, oncology, orthopedics, chemical dependency, and critical care. Current planning involves designing a program aimed toward high school students, with the goal of encouraging young people to consider nursing as a career.

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