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BSN Program - do you get to choose clinicals?

Pre-Nursing   (3,989 Views 6 Comments)
by priorities2 priorities2 (New Member) New Member

7,559 Visitors; 246 Posts

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Hi all,

I'm applying to BSN programs and was just wondering to what extent you get to choose your clinical areas and your preceptorships. If you want to only work in mental health nursing, can you do that?

Thank you!!

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HouTx has 35 years experience and works as a Manager, eLearning & Clinical Development.

44,505 Visitors; 9,051 Posts

Sorry - but in the US, nursing programs must adhere to accreditation requirements. If you haven't met all the requirements, you cannot take boards and receive a license. The requirements establish exactly how many hours and what types of clinical experiences are required. In the US, our basic nursing education is designed to produce generalists, so you will be training in all areas of nursing, including behavioral health (we don't call it "mental health") For nurses, the ability to specialize only occurs after you become licensed. You will be able to pursue 'board certification' (which does not require additional degree for BSNs) or obtain a graduate degree in a specialty area.

If you truly only want to work in behavioral health, you may want to look at becoming a psych tech instead or becoming a counselor or psychologist.

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1,134 Visitors; 17 Posts

The short answer is no. You will have a mental health clinical but you will also be required to participate in all other clinical areas as well. Now, depending on your school, you may have some input into which clinical sites you go to. Although, some schools will give you absolutely no choice in the matter.

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NICUmiiki has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a NICU RN.

24,811 Visitors; 1,731 Posts

I've never seen a program that gives you any choice. Each US state has different regulations for nursing school, but all require a certain amount of clinical hours in a variety of settings. You will not get to choose just one. Nursing school is general nursing education. Depending on how robust the preceptorship at your school is (usually part of the very last semester), you may be given a choice for that.

At my school, not everyone in the same lecture has the same clinical schedule, and it is possible to switch schedules. That's all the choice we get until our last semester. There is really no choice in facilities, because our BSN program is part of a hospital established college, and we do everything at our parent hospital except OB.

Also, most of us find the generalness of nursing school to be a good thing because even though we may have our minds set on one specialty, we may come to love a completely different one.

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UVA Grad Nursing works as a Assistant Dean.

26,221 Visitors; 1,068 Posts

Here in the US, nursing specialty training is done at the graduate level. Associate degree and BSN training is generalist, and you must have a broad (multi-setting) education to be graduate from an accredited program and sit for the NCLEX examination.

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7,559 Visitors; 246 Posts

Thank you for all your responses. It make sense that generalist training would be required for accreditation. I guess I'll have to find out how the preceptorships work at the programs I'm applying to, then specialize more in mental health in an NP program someday.

Thanks again!!

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