Is a Nurse Extern position helpful for a students?

  1. Hi. I am a first year nursing student, and I start Med-Surg tommorrow. I just recently applied to a hospital who is offering a Nurse Extern Program for 12 weeks, paying $15.60 an hour. This program is through the summer and I felt that it would help me develop my skills as a student nurse better. Although I have talked to some students and some say that I should focus on studying during the summer and apply later in my second year. I was wondering if I am making a good decision on going on with my choice of working as Nurse Extern in my first year of nursing?
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   AgentR
    My externship was invaluable, both for learning skills, and making contacts for getting a job after graduation! I would encourage anyone to complete a summer externship.
  4. by   suzy253
    I agree.
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Mine was very helpful to my skills, and also looks good on a resume.
  6. by   christvs
    Definitely do the`summer extern program. You'll gain valuable practical hands-on experience that you may not get from only reading books. Plus it will give you more confidence and you'll feel more comfortable approaching and taking care of pts, it looks great on resumes, you're getting paid to learn, and it just may lead to a job as a nurse once you graduate!
  7. by   VickyRN
    Without a doubt the summer extern program is extremely valuable; however, most students do this in the summer between the junior and senior years.
  8. by   rn2bn07
    Thank you all so much for your responses. I have made up my mind very quickly and will be sending my application in tomorrow. I think you guys are right about learning new skills, and also having more experience in dealing with pts better. Thanks again
  9. by   suzanne4
    There isn't a better program out there for students, and if you can get a great preceptor on top of it? It will only be a win-win situation for you. Wish more had the idea to do this. It will also be quite beneficial in helping you with your schooling.

    You have earned a gold star from me.:angel2:
  10. by   land64shark
    Stupid question: What do nurse externs actually do? Since I'm beginning during the spring semester, I'll have two free summers between semesters.
  11. by   sasparilla
    Ok, sorry to be ignorant, but what is an "externship"? How do you go about finding out if a hospital has this and what would you be doing? Does it pay money? I will also have this coming summer off before senior year of nursing school, need to work and was debating between staying on as unit secretary at the hospital (what I do now) or trying to get a job as either an aide or tech, whichever I would be qualified to do. From what I've heard at the hospital I work at, the unit secretaries job pays more!

    I'd love some other ideas.:wink2:
  12. by   VickyRN
    Quote from sasparilla
    Ok, sorry to be ignorant, but what is an "externship"? How do you go about finding out if a hospital has this and what would you be doing? Does it pay money? I will also have this coming summer off before senior year of nursing school, need to work and was debating between staying on as unit secretary at the hospital (what I do now) or trying to get a job as either an aide or tech, whichever I would be qualified to do. From what I've heard at the hospital I work at, the unit secretaries job pays more!

    I'd love some other ideas.:wink2:
    Externships are for baccalaureate students and usually take place over a ten-week period between the junior and senior years. The student must meet qualifications for this experience (usually high GPA during nursing school). Not every BSN student qualifies. The student pays tuition to the sponsoring university for the experience and chooses the unit or specialty area. The student is then assigned a preceptor on the floor who must evaluate the student's experience. The preceptor is carefully screened according to preset criteria and must be working a fulltime schedule. The student works every shift that his or her preceptor works during this period (days, nights, weekends; usually exceeds 400 clinical hours during the 10-week period). The student is also paid by the hospital (usually at or slightly above CNA salary). The student is generally able to do everything the RN can do (per P & P exceptions, such as giving experimental or chemotherapy medications, certain procedures, etc.). Again, this is all under the careful supervision of the preceptor.

    Interships are an abbreviated form of externships. Internships can be utilized for all nursing students (LPN, ADN, and BSN) and are currently much in vogue. This takes place during the last semester and usually consists of 120 clinical hours for RN students and 90 hours for LPN students. The student is paired up with a suitable preceptor and completes the required hours on a hospital unit. The student is then evaluated by the preceptor at the end of the internship experience. The student is not paid by the facility.

    Both interships and externships seem, at first glance, to be the resurrection of the old "diploma school" model. The big difference, today, with renewed emphasis on work-based learning, is that this is done under the careful scrutiny and direction of university or college-based nurse educators.
  13. by   Sheri257
    I would go for it ... especially if it pays $15 an hour. But I would watch out for one thing.

    Some hospitals claim to have "externships" but really, the jobs are nothing more than CNA work and they don't give you much RN training at all. They do this because they're always short on CNA's so, they basically trick students into taking "extern" jobs.

    Ask around and make sure this "externship" is for real because some programs can be misleading.

  14. by   Nurse Ratched
    Quote from lizz
    Some hospitals claim to have "externships" but really, the jobs are nothing more than CNA work and they don't give you much RN training at all. They do this because they're always short on CNA's so, they basically trick students into taking "extern" jobs.
    Such was the case at our hospital. I saw a series of nursing students come in thinking they were going to function in a way as described in the earlier posts, but a shortage of techs meant they were doing tech work with no exposure to other skills. Don't get me wrong - personal care and other tech functions are extraordinarily important, but the externs were led to think they were going to get to start IV's, insert caths, etc., when they were really functioning as CNA's far more often than not. None questioned it, and while I tried to advocate for them, mgt was interested in having warm bodies.

    I think the thought was also that they would stay on after graduation; this rarely happened since the student had already been exposed to mgt's dishonesty.

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