Nurse Extern

  1. Hi! Does anyone know anything about Nurse Externs? What exactly is it and who is eligible? Is it for the BSN program only or are ADN students also eligible?

    Thanks!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   NurseShell
    Oh yes??! Do tell...I've heard some awful rumors about having to sign contracts and stuff...what's the deal?!?!?!
  4. by   memphispanda
    I am sort of in the process of applying to be an extern. Several members of my class are already working.

    Anyway, I think it varies some from place to place. Here, you have to be one year or less away from graduation, doesn't matter if you are ADN, diploma, BSN. The hours are flexible--basically work when you can. They do pay weekend and shift differential. It's sort of a glorified Medical Assistant. I have heard it referred to as a recruitment tool also. Here, you can't give meds or do anything invasive at all, so externs do vitals, give baths, change sheets, etc. I am not sure if they can do assessments.

    No contract involved for the hospitals here, again, that may vary from place to place.
  5. by   Angelica
    It believe it does vary from place to place. Where I live I was eligible to apply for externship after my first semester (that has since changed to second semester). Being an extern has definitely helped my confidence during clinicals. We can't give meds or IV sticks, but we can do a lot of other procedures (NG tube placement, wet to dry drsg changes, catheters, lots of documentation, etc). It's been an invaluable experience.
  6. by   Rena RN 2003
    i thought of doing the externship at my hospital but i found out that i get to do more as an ER tech than i would as an extern. now i get plenty of practice at caths, blood draws, dressings, wound care in general, etc.
  7. by   USA987
    Hi there,

    I tried to apply for a nurse externship here in So. California...pay for most area hospitals was $13-14/hr. You needed an instructor recommendation. Unfortunately, you also needed to sign a one-yr. contract with the hospital...and I'm moving right after graduation.

    It may not be the same in all areas though.
  8. by   Angelica
    $13-14 sounds really good. I get $9.65. But I didn't have to sign a contract. The hospital is also paying $1000 a year towards school (tuition/books--they even payed for the nursing software for my PDA)
  9. by   essarge
    I am a nurse extern and it is nothing more than a title. We do CNA work and, when a nurse feels like it, we can assist with dressing procedures etc. This title is not put on our name tags but CNA is listed. So far they have paid $10,000 for my education and I owe four years...which is fine because I don't plan on going anywhere after graduation. After graduation, if you decide that you don't want to work there, you can pay it back just like a loan. I just wish that they would get up with the times and allow externs to do more as they progress through school.
  10. by   JudithL_in_NH
    Sounds like a great opportunity!

    I have a good part-time job now; I work tutoring writing from home--it's a good gig and pays well. However, as I progress in my nursing studies, I'd really like to shift to work that's career related.

    My state board of nursing (NH) lists extern sites at their website.
  11. by   AmiK25
    It is definitely true that every place is different! I am an extern in a busy critical care unit at a large teaching hospital. I get my own patient (even this sickest ones with vents, vasoactive drips, etc). I can give meds (except IV push), do assessments, and pretty much do all their care. There is always a nurse with me who is assigned to the patient. She signs off my assessments and answers all my questions. Anyway, I love my job as an extern....you should go to specific hospitals and inquire about the responsibilities given to their externs. Also, I did not have to sign a contract, but they do offer scholarships in return for signing on to work after graduation...it is strictly voluntary.

    Ami
  12. by   llg
    I coordinate the Extern Program at my hospital -- and have done a lot of reading on the subject, etc.

    The above posters are correct. It really does vary from place to place. People usually use the term to describe special roles created for nursing students, but the exact nature of those roles varies from hospital to hospital. Also, people tend to use different terms to describe similar roles.

    Therefore, my recommendation is to call the hospitals that you might be interested in working at and ask to speak with the Nurse Recruiter. (She's the one who probably has the most information on the subject.) Ask the Nurse Recruiter, "What roles do you have at your hospital that would be suitable for a nursing student?" If you just ask about an "extern" role and they don't use that term, you might miss out on a good opportunity for a role with a similar function, but a diffferent name.

    At my hospital, we have a couple of roles that are well-suited for nursing students and are in the process of creating a couple more. Each role has a different name, different duties, different requirements in terms of education and previous experience, different scheduling options, and different pay. Some are more clerical in nature or focus more on equipment maintanence, stocking supplies, etc. A beginning student who is not yet qualified for direct-patient care roles might like such a role as a chance to at least work in a hospital environment. We also have a role for students with at least 2 semesters of clinical under their belt. Those students can do a lot of direct patient care, including starting IV's and draw labwork as well as gather vital sign data and provide basic hygiene, etc. As a student looking for a job, you want to learn about ALL of the options. So, be sure to ask your questions in such a way that you will discover ALL the options.

    By the way ... At my hospital (a Children's Hospital), we use the term Extern to refer to a special program we run only in the summer -- not for a job that runs all year. Our Extern Program is a full time summer job for nursing students who have completed at least 2 semesters of clinical coursework in school. The Externs are always paired with an RN and the 2 people provide complete care for a "1-person assignment." The Extern is allowed to participate in any and all clinical procedures as long as the RN is physically present and actively supervising the procedure. Without the RN physically present in the room, the Extern can perform CNA-type skills.

    As our staff works 12-hour shifts, 3 shifts per week equals 36 hours. So, we also pay the Externs for 4 hours of educational time per week -- IF they want it. Some weeks, we have organized classes that the Externs are required to attend. Other weeks, the Externs are free to explore their own educational interests on paid time. Most choose to use that time observing care on other units. Except for the organized class time, that 4 hours of educational time is optional and most Externs choose not to take advantage of it each and every week. They can use it to fulfill their goals, but they don't have to work those 4 hours if they have something else they would rather do. We have no requirements for them after the summer program is over.

    Good luck finding a role that is right for you,
    llg

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