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Externship/internship and Clinicals

Hello all!

I will be starting nursing school this June and am thinking about applying for some externship/internships on the side. I was wondering if there is a difference between doing an internship or externship versus clinicals? With the economy the way it is, I'm really afraid that when I finish school in 3 years it might still be difficult to get an RN job, so I figured as much experience, even volunteering, to get my foot in the door should help.

Any suggestion? thank you!:)

Edited by ryqu

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

It depends on the hospital what an externship or internship involves. Generally speaking, an internship is for a graduate nurse. Externships are for those still in nursing school, usually after having completed either the first semester or the first year. What is involved in the externship will depend on the hospital itself. Mine involves working as a PCT, shadowing a nurse from time to time and getting to see all the really cool stuff that goes on from dressing changes to chest tube placements to participating in a code by doing chest compressions etc because they come get me. Other places it is all nurse shadowing. Some are paid. Some are unpaid. Competition for these slots are fierce, so keep your grades up.

Ah..makes sense. These are in no relation to clinicals that are required of the nursing program correct? sorry, I'm new so this might a dumb question, thanks so much for your response though! :)

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab.

My internship was in critical care and it was like I was the nurse. I had a preceptor that would guide me in all the stuff I did but kept their mouth shut unless I was about to do something wrong. I was able to do everything that I had learned in school from the first year. I even was involved in codes, cath lab and helped in an open heart surgery. The type of program varies greatly with each hospital. The one I am doing this year pushes the students again to do everything that they can and makes you act as a nurse would. Great fun, great way to spend the summer and you get paid doing it, at least with the one I am in.

Thanks for the info!

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

The only relation they have to clinicals is if you get to practice skills you were doing in clinicals as part of the extern/internship, and whether they are willing to do that is individual to the facility. Clinicals are actually a graded "course" as part of your schooling. Internship/externship are completely separate from the college/university academics.

Thanks RN2BDFW! Got it now - that clears up everything for me!

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

Good luck in school :)

You forgot precepting! Just kidding...I'm sure you'll learn about your preceptorship later.

RhodyGirl, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg.

The vast majority of the internships in my area are only offered to students entering their senior year. I've been applying like crazy and just received two offers--hoping for a 3rd by next week. Check out the hospitals and what their criteria are; some may require one semester of NS, and some may want more.

Getting your foot in the door is definitely key, so make sure you keep your grades high and apply anywhere you can when the time comes!


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