Externships worth it in long run?

Nurses General Nursing



I'm a Junior in nursing school and graduate May 2012 and have already had an internship over the summer with an occupational health nurse.I learned soo much:D What my question is for people who maybe nurses managers or nurses who have externed before... does externing really give you a leg up?

In my state (Alaska) there are no formal nurse externships at any of the hospitals so it's not like I can extern at a hospital I will work at. But I think the skills learned and things of that nature would be really beneficial but does it help when it comes to getting hired at a hospital after you graduate even though you did your extern somewhere else?

If anyone has any insights I would really like to hear them!


Specializes in neurotrauma ICU.

I did an externship at the hospital affiliated with my nursing school, but was hired as a graduate nurse at a different hospital. I do believe having the externship helped me land my new grad position. I was sure to mention that the externship was a competitive position and I was chosen to do it over other candidates. It was a good way to promote myself in an interview (something they tell you to do, but is difficult for me).

I think the externship was very beneficial in terms of gaining confidence and experience.

Specializes in OBS, OR, ER.

I was in a program that didn't allow the time to do an externship. I do think it would have helped alot of the girls I graduated with adapt better.

If you are eager, a quick study and not not shy to ask a million and one questions you'll do fine either way.

Best of luck

That is how I got my job!! can be good or bad!! If they liek what they see, good for you---BUT if they don;t like it, well not soo good,lol I know many of my former classmates got their jobs that way! Plus you get to do a lot more on an externship than you did during a normal clinical

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr.

i got my first and second nursing jobs because i externed and had a good reputation! so, yes it can give you a leg up. in fact, although sometimes employers are unable to hire their former externs, other employers may be able to snatch you up when you graduate. gl!

During my externship I really learned a lot, my preceptor allowed me to grow and learn. Also during that time the manager of the floor I worked on liked what she saw and offered me a position. On the other hand, the manager determined that she did not like of the other externs, so she was not offered a position.


Specializes in Tele Step Down, Oncology, ICU, Med/Surg.

I did my senior preceptorship at hospital "AB." I was well liked and my preceptor gave me a good recommendation; yet, Hospital AB was not hiring any new grad RN's.

So, I applied--along with 1000 candidates--for a coveted new grad RN position at hospital "CD" where I made it to the final cut but wasn't hired.

I wasn't worried yet as I still needed to focus on getting my license. Did that and then applied everywhere for a couple months with no success. Then I spent a couple months filling out my resume by taking some classes. Five months into the job search, After a couple discouraging near misses at a some local UC Hospitals, I applied to a New Grad RN Transitions Program at the university (fancy name for an externship) and was accepted to extern at Hospital "CD" for three months.

While I learned a lot of hands on nursing working with high acuity pts during my senior preceptorship at the more urban setting of "AB, externing as an RN in the more cushy, suburban setting of "CD" brought my competency to a higher level and built my confidence.

I did well and have a second letter of recommendation. And, I was told that when Hospital "CD" has their next round of New Grad RN hiring I will have a strong chance of getting hired. However, in the last couple weeks, Hospital "AB" decided to open up hiring to a couple of their former preceptees, and I've just been offered a job over 10 other candidates who performed well during their senior externship (I precepted with a couple so I know they were good candidates with good letters of recommendation).

I think the extra clinical hours externing at hospital "CD" made me a more attractive candidate to Hospital "AB." In this economy where it takes awhile for a new grad RN to land a position, I think you should do things to show that you are working on your skills and gaining clinical experience.

However, this comes at a price. It is very hard to do when you are trying to work at a McJob for $$$ and then basically volunteer nurse for 8 - 12 hours 3-4 times a week based on your preceptors schedule in order to build your resume. For those with kids, the hardship level doubles. People you love just got used to having you around again post graduation and you up and disappear on em all to build your resume for a job that just keeps eluding you.

And, there is no sure thing--even if you work hard and do a good job--sometimes the jobs are just not there (especially in the San Francisco area where I live). There are many high GPA new grad RNs out there with strong skills that precepted 240 hours and externed for 300 hours, and come with good refs and are ready to fly..... but are just not getting hired cuz there is no jobs.

Good luck on your nursing journey

Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

I did an externship and was hired by the hospital upon graduation. The externship really REALLY was invaluable. I was able to see what it was like as a nurse on the floor, practiced skills and learned all kinds of new things that helped during my last year of school. I would recommend an externship to anyone and everyone!!!!

Specializes in Emergency Nursing, Cardiology.

I did an externship during my last year of nursing school (as a CNA-II). I got to work all over the hospital. This gave me the opportunity to see the areas I wanted to work in, but more importantly the areas I DIDN'T want to work in. I was hired at the hospital where I externed, but I don't think I was hired because because I was an extern; I think the experience was one more thing in resume.

I'm glad I was an extern mainly because I had no previous patient care experience and this was a good way to get basic nursing experience (turning, transferring, cleaning up patients, etc.).

Hey guys thanks for your replies it looks like they really do help!

Specializes in Tele Step Down, Oncology, ICU, Med/Surg.

I'm confused--in my area an externship is a clinical placement after graduation. A preceptorship is clinical hours before graduation. What do you mean by externship OP?

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

When I've precepted students, I can almost immediately tell who is an extern and who isn't, based on the student's comfort level and skill.

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