In order for a nurse student to successfully transition from being a student to being a professional, clinical internship/externship programs are the best opportunities to take especially for senior students.
It can be one of the most rewarding and vital experiences any nurse student can have and with the proper preparation, planning and execution, a nurse student will be able to identify what is best for her career in nursing and her future employment.
What is nurse internship?
An internship occurs mostly within the school year, part-time in nature and are usually paid while an externship is done during the summer time, in between the junior and senior year of a nurse student. This is done in the summer because it is full-time in nature, paid, and occurs from six to eight weeks.
What do you do in an internship/externship?
A student nurse is expected to understand all the necessary requirements of the internship, which includes schedule, duties and responsibilities, and the contractual agreement. As this is like a trial employment and paid, some facilities expect you to begin working with them after graduation and you have gotten your degree. Other duties include:
- Arriving on time and expected to work the entire shift
- Demonstrating highest ethical standards of being a nurse
- Building on experience to help the nurse student with learning continuation and skills
- Willing to ask questions, receive feedback and work hard
- Identifying areas of interests to help decide on a specialty
Where can a student complete internship?
- Private and public hospitals
- Doctor’s offices
- Emergency rooms
- Intensive care units
- Psychiatric care facilities
- Community centers
- Healthcare facilities
- Schools and universities
- Pharmacy and laboratories
- Research centers
- Acute care hospitals
- Nursing homes and hospices
- Psychiatric hospitals
- Prisons or jails
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Group homes
- Doctor’s offices, clinics
- Assisted living facilities
How much do they make?
Some internships are unpaid but many offer payment at a minimum hourly wage or allowance for nurse students who are accepted in the program. Other programs even allow reimbursement for transportation, food and housing costs.
If they get unpaid, their hours will be credited as part of the college or school’s hours. If you are with a bachelor’s degree, you can get a minimum of $16.35 per hour rate.
How to apply for Internship?
This is like applying for the career path or employment you wish to embark on, that is why it is necessary to prepare a resume and do well in an interview.
- Identification of career goals and objectives – this will help you realize which career path you’ll take as a nurse by thinking over your area of interests, goals and where you want to be in five to ten years time.
- Conversation with colleagues, advisors, professors and medical experts to get as much guidance as possible to get the best externship opportunities.
- Participation in share days to help know more about the organization.
- Research and understanding what you will going through to help provide you with the right tools and learn what each hospital has to offer, when they will begin the program, how to apply for the program, and if they provide part-time employment especially for the externship.
- Prioritize places near you and can give you the best externship experience
- Preparation of a good resume to include trainings, activities and other related experiences that can boost your edge.
- Submission of complete application before the deadline.
- Identification of the correct and truthful personal references.
- Ace the interview.
- Evaluation of extra positions you can take.
What to expect from the internship/externship?
As this will be like an actual job, most internship or externship requires their student the same needs, expectations and requirements they ask from working nurses. This will be a valuable experience to include in your nursing background, help to identify your specialty, adapt to your own work style and train you as a potential employee.
A nurse student may expect to experience the following in each internship/externship programs:
- Develop goals and performance standards
- Develop clinical skills through observation, note-taking and understanding the hands-on experience
- Network through the orientation provided with all nurse students
- Opportunity to shadow and follow and experienced nurse
- Observe clinical, surgical and all the other things nurses do
- Observe a patient from start to finish
- Opportunity to work alone and independently after being trained
- Ability to receive feedback to improve skills
- Opportunity to work in a health facility with health professionals
- Exposure to advancement in technology and procedures
What kind of nursing organization are associated with student nurses?
- American Nurses Association – this association recognizes that student nurses are the future of their profession that is why they allow a welcome to the profession kit when they decide to join.
- National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) – with over 60,000 members all over the country, this association helps develop and hone future nurses and help them enter the nursing profession prepared and well-guided.