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Externship, Preceptorship and Internship


Hi there! Anybody knows what's the difference between externship, preceptorship and internship? Thank you! :nurse:

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I can vary from situation to situation. There is no "law" that governs the use of those words. Some people/hospitals will use words differently than others.

In most areas ... an "externship" is a job for a nursing student.

An "intership" is most often an in-depth orientation for a new grad RN. (But some people use that term for student jobs and/or student experiences.)

"Preceptorship" refers to working with and under the direct supervision of a more experienced nurse who teaches you the ropes of a particular job or role. Nursing students often have preceptorships in their senior year. But the term can also be used to refer to that part of an RN orientation during which she is not sitting in class, but rather out in the unit, working with a preceptor.

When you see or hear those words, you have to look at the context in which it appears to know how the speaker/writer means it. Sometimes, you simply have to ask because the context does not make it clear.