Anyone Getting a Nurse Externship Now That the Semester is Over?

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Hi everyone! I only have finals week left, then i completed my very first semester of nursing boot camp, opps I mean nursing school!:) :balloons: :) I'm so excited. Anyway, I also have an interview tomorrow at 10:00am to be a nurse extern/pool pca at a local trauma 1 center in the city. I'm nervous because this will be my very first job not in retail~! I have been working retail everyday since I was 15 and now I'm 24 and getting my first paid job in a hospital. I'm just still in shock that I have come so far(I know I have a long ways to go). I just hope I am doing the right thing and am not rushing anything. Some friends are not getting externships till the summer because they are afraid of not studying enough but i work now for $9.25 an hour, I could actually work less hours now for 14.00 plus differential. I just hope I'm doing the right thing for me. I have very limited support emotionally~ so I knew I could ask everyone here...Thank you :)


532 Posts

I started a nurse externship in May, after my first semester. To warn you, it is very hard work. For the first month, I came home after a 12 hr shift and soaked my feet then went immediately to bed. I was tired and cranky all of the time. I really didn't like it and wanted to quit every day. But after a month or so, I got a routine down so the days weren't as crazy and I made some friends.

When I started second semester this fall, I could really see how much the externship helped me. Though I don't get to do a lot of true nursing things as an extern at my hospital, I have developed real confidence in my ability to work with patients. I got a lot of positive feedback from the nurses I work with and that really helped. I believe in myself and know that I will make a good nurse, and that confidence has made such a difference.

I did very, very well in clinical this semester and I know it is because of the externship. So even though I am still not thrilled to spend 12 hr making beds, filling water pitchers and cleaning up patients, I do think the experience is well worth it.

I would ask a couple of questions at your interview.

How often do they cancel externs/pca's?

When there aren't enough patients, hospitals cancel your shift and you don't get paid. If you are depending on the money to pay bills, you want to know how often you may be canceled. I had never had a job where they would cancel your shifts without any notice, so it was a big surpirse for me.

Do they have mandatory overtime?

Some hospitals will require their employees to work extra shifts if they are short.

Are they willing to be flexible with your school schedule?

At my school, they are constanty rescheduling things so you never know for sure what your schedule will be until the last minute. That has been a problem with work because they schedule a month in advance and once you are the schedule, they don't like you to change shifts.

Good luck and I hope you get the job!

Specializes in Med-Surg/Telemetry.

i think you are doing the right thing. getting work experience while at school is always a positive. there are people who also say that they still succeeded as an RN w/o having to work at a hospital during nursing school.

but if you feel you are no confident in your skills and abilities, working at the hospital is always a plus and will help you gain confidence.

i'm actually on the process of applying for an extern position, i have the applications filled out already, i just need to drop them off. i too, dont have any hospital work experience, asides from clinicals. i worked as a newspaper delivery guy, that about it.

how long did it take them to process your application? because i really need to find out if i got the job or not by january 15, i have to make sure i got the job or not, so i can sign up for that class that is required if i am going to be an extern.


136 Posts

I'm starting soon. It'll be hard to go from no job to working 12 hours shifts along with school but I'm thinking of maybe just 1 shift a week. I'm PRN for now so they told me I could do that. I wanted night shift, and got day, but it's ok - I need some sort of job experience! :balloons:

Specializes in Gynecology/Oncology.

I'm starting a new job in a few weeks. I applied in August, and got hired right away. I have to have my first semester complete, though. (1 week left!) I'll be prn on a med-surg unit. I'm pretty excited!

akcarmean, LPN

1,554 Posts

Specializes in Home Health Care,LTC.

I think it would be great Wish you the best of luck


1,078 Posts

Specializes in Trauma ICU, MICU/SICU.

I took a position at a small hospital in PCU during my second semester. Now that I'm finished (well will be finished in less than a week) my second semester, I'll be working as a PSNA (Professional Student Nurse Assistant) in a large Level 1 Trauma center (they are also paying for my school so I'll be working there as an RN for at least a year to fulfilll my contract... Anyway, the PSNA position is in the Trauma Neuro ICU. I'm excited and scared to death!

I'm very greatful for the experience I've gained in the hospitals. Clinical is a lot of wasted time and not enough hands on. I get to do more at work.

wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

You might inquire what the job description is of the nurse extern at the facility you're looking at. Quite honestly, some facilities don't know what to do with them and they wind up as high paid PCAs. That has been the experience of some of my fellow students. There's nothing wrong with that if you're agreeable to it. It's just good to know what to expect. If nothing else, you should come away with a higher comfort level working with patients which will be evident in your school clinical, and a nice paycheck.


136 Posts

I already know that's what my job is - high paid PCA, with the occasional Foley insertion or IV start. I'm ok with it though.


587 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

I start working Tuesday as a Nurse Tech. I hope I like it because I really need the money.


136 Posts

^^^Please tell us how it goes. :)

klone, MSN, RN

14,683 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership.

Most hospitals here don't offer nurse externships until after 2nd semester. There is one hospital that offers it after 1st semester, and they offered me a job (in the unit I wanted :crying2: ) but I had to turn it down.

I'm DEFINITELY planning on doing an externship next May, when 2nd semester is over.

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