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PDP - Professional Development Program

The Professional Development Program at Avera McKennan is a summer well spent for students preparing for a career in nursing. Hospital nursing is an exciting career field with many opportunities for advancement. Avera is a major health care network in our region, and through PDP, you can experience first hand what it’s like to work for this outstanding organization.

The PDP provides educational and clinical experience for nursing students, enhancing their prioritization, critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills. The program pairs the student with a Registered Nurse mentor in the clinical setting and provides a comprehensive orientation including clinical experiences and a formal case presentation.

This is a paid summer program meant for student nurses within one or two semesters of graduation. The PDP student is paired with a Registered Nurse mentor in the clinical setting.

Program Goals & Objectives

The PDP experience is meant to ensure quality nursing care for patients and promote professional nursing practices. The PDP student will be able to:

1. Systematically collect subjective and objective assessment data to be reviewed and used by the mentor.

2. Assist the mentor in developing, implementing and evaluating a plan of care for assigned patients.

3. Assist the mentor in performing nursing procedures and treatments, such as:

  • Administration of oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intravenous (RN must be present during procedure) medications
  • IV insertion (RN must be present during procedure)
  • Monitoring of IV sites, dressings, and rates
  • Management of non-medicated IVs including tubing changes
  • Changing of TPN bags (RN must be present during procedure)
  • Dressing changes
  • Removal of staples and suture
  • Nasogastric tube insertion and care
  • Urinary catheter insertion and care
  • Oral, endotracheal, and tracheal suctioning
  • Bowel elimination care
  • Specimen collection
  • Changing CBI bags
  • Documentation of care provided
  • Communicating verbal report

4. Demonstrate behaviors which show regard for dignity and respect of patients, family members, visitors and co-workers.

5. Participate in educational pursuits and activities that enhance understanding of professional nursing practices.

6. Participate in maintaining a harmonious work environment.


Professional Development Program Requirements

To participate in the Professional Development Program you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be currently enrolled and have completed all but the final two semesters of a CCNE or NLN accredited Bachelors of Nursing Program
  • Meet all Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center job-related health requirements
  • Provide proof of current CPR certification
  • Provide proof of High School Diploma/General Education Degree
  • Complete the Avera McKennan application process
  • Receive acceptable evaluations from your references


Lori Popkes - Chief Nursing Officer at Avera McKennan

Lori Popkes

"At Avera McKennan, nurses are 'creating an exceptional difference.' I hope you will consider applying for a PDP experience, and see Avera McKennan as a place where you can experience a long and rewarding career."

Welcome to the professional practice of nursing. Avera McKennan's Professional Development Program is a wonderful opportunity to explore your interest areas in the profession of nursing. We are seeking the 'brightest and best' students for this program, because we consider PDP the beginning of a career at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. It is our hope that PDP students will consider job opportunities as patient care techs, and ultimately become part of the Avera nursing team.

As a Magnet facility, Avera McKennan is known for excellence in nursing. Opportunities abound here for nurses to develop their careers into various pathways, whether that is in clinical nursing, leadership or both.


PDP Frequently Asked Questions

Program Dates:

  • PDP Standard Summer Program
    • May 23, 2016 to July 23, 2016
    • Req#: 1506971
  • New: Accelerated PDP Program for December 2016 RN Graduates
    • July 11, 2016 to August 13, 2016 and a 24 hour a month work commitment with your Nurse Mentor until Graduation from the Fall 2016 Nursing Program
    • Req#: 1506972


  • Orientation is provided to familiarize PDP students with hospital and nursing information and expectations.

Work Schedule:

  • As a PRN employee, you will work a full-time schedule (36-40 hours per week).
  • Rotating shifts: Days, Evenings, Nights & Weekends with Holiday Involvement.
  • 8 or 12 hour shifts
  • You will be expected to work your nurse mentor’s schedule.
  • Schedules will be provided in April of the program year.


  • Hourly wage is $13.75.

Preceptor Assignment:

  • Mentor assignments will be provided late April.


  • Students will be expected to purchase their own uniform.

Networking/Clinical Learning:

  • Students will network with each other through weekly blogging, breakfast/luncheons and an exemplar presentation.

College Credit (optional):

  • Available through a partnership with a local university. If interested, please contact PDP coordinator.

Continuing Education:

  • Students are encouraged to attend staff meetings and education programs available during the PDP experience.

Request for Time off:

  • In order to receive the full clinical benefit of the program, we encourage students to plan special events before or after the PDP experience.

Application process

PDP - Application Process

Information about the PDP Summer 2017 opportunity will be online soon. Please check back near the end of May for more details.