Quote from slinkyheadCNA
What I mean is, what if I mess up before I am licensed? Does the hospital get sued, the RN supervising me? Could that affect my future licensure? The thought of performing skills based on my progress in school before being deemed a prudent and safe nurse by the NCLEX scares me.
But maybe I'm just looking at it the wrong way.
Yes, I think you are looking at it the wrong way. As an extern, you are not held to the same standards as an RN, you are held to the standards of an extern. ("What would a prudent extern do ...")
The chances of you being sued or being charged with a crime are no greater for an extern as they are for anyone else -- a student, a nurse, a CNA, etc. It's the risk we all take any time we take care of patients. To give up the chance to get paid supervised clinical experience because you are afraid to perform skills is short-sighted.
However ... certainly there are some extern programs that are of better quality than others. For example, some provide more supervision and teaching than others. Be sure to investigate the particulars of any program before signing up to be sure the externs are not just "thrown into the deep end of the pool" or anything.