Nurse Externs?

  1. Do you utilize nurse externs on your floor? What are they allowed to do? What do you have them do? I am currently one, for six weeks, while I am on summer break.
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    About DroogieRN

    Joined: Sep '08; Posts: 327; Likes: 660
    Telemetry, Critical Care; from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience

    11 Comments

  3. by   Mrs.BSN71109
    Nurse extern is basically a glorified CNA.... same responsibilities but the nurses may let you do more depending what semester your are in, I was also able to watch a lot of different procedures done
  4. by   classicdame
    In my state, Texas, nurse externs are considered unlicensed personnel, the same as nurse aides. We allow them to do whatever the nurse aide is allowed, but we also draw them in to assist RN's in many ways and to attend whatever education is being offered to RN/LVN's. They may not start IV, give meds, get patient assignment, assess patient or provide education. They may change non-sterile dressings, get blood sugar readings and VS, do I&O, etc. They may only chart what they do. They may transcribe orders (same as unit clerk) but cannot sign orders off or take orders from MD. Does this help?
  5. by   DroogieRN
    Quote from classicdame
    In my state, Texas, nurse externs are considered unlicensed personnel, the same as nurse aides. We allow them to do whatever the nurse aide is allowed, but we also draw them in to assist RN's in many ways and to attend whatever education is being offered to RN/LVN's. They may not start IV, give meds, get patient assignment, assess patient or provide education. They may change non-sterile dressings, get blood sugar readings and VS, do I&O, etc. They may only chart what they do. They may transcribe orders (same as unit clerk) but cannot sign orders off or take orders from MD. Does this help?
    Yes, thanks. I am discovering that I am allowed to do whatever a CNA is allowed to do, plus whatever the nurse I am assigned to allows. I'm preparing meds, passing meds, giving injections, checking blood sugars, changing dressing, flushing hep locks, etc., as long as my RN is with me. Additionally, I will learn blood draws and starting IVs -- I am also allowed to watch any/everything I have time for. I am just happy to have the extra clinical time! I wanted to see if maybe there will be more I am not aware of yet.
  6. by   nminodob
    I was a nurse extern, and I want to warn you of one thing - while some nurses will allow you to do invasive procedures, others will not and actually have policy on their side. For example, my IV starting/lab drawing/NGT insertion days came to an abrupt halt when one charge nurse got wind of what I had been doing (for months!) and made a huge stink...long story short, I was back to breaking the CNAs for lunches and stocking latex gloves, all while making significantly less per hour than the staff CNAs were. Luckily, I got hired as an RN soon after. Once you are doing all those skills, it is hard to go back to being a CNA! So if you are in the fortunate position of having a trusting RN looking over your shoulder while you hone your skills, be discreet about it...if other staff find out you are going "outside your scope" you may find yourself being a CNA without the CNA pay.
  7. by   classicdame
    Our facility pays externs more than CNA's, partly because we expect them to use critical thinking no matter what. As for working outside your scope of practice, I would not want to work with any nurse who thought "as long as no one knows it is ok". Wrong attitude and can get you in trouble. Part of being a professional nurse is knowing what IS within your scope of practice. There is so much more to nursing than skills. Learning protocols, how to transcribe orders, policies---- Please be careful. What would happen if the patient had a negative outcome and the other RN claimed "I didn't tell her to do that!". CYA
  8. by   Soon2BNurse3
    I'm going to be an RN Extern also this summer. We have to write down all the skills we're allowed to do so we can show our preceptor - that way everyone has a clear picture of what is within our scope of practice. We're only allowed to do what we have been taught thus far. I'm excited!
  9. by   yelhsamarie
    I am currently a nurse extern for the summer as well. I will graduate with my BSN in December. I am allowed to do everything a nurse can do except pass meds. But I am my nurse's shadow. I don't do anything without her there and anything I order or chart she co-signs. I am learning a ton though and my nursing skills are getting better because I'm doing things I've been prepared for instead of just watching or being an aide. But if something is not within your scope, all places are different, don't do it. We were told we would be fired if we passed meds and it's not worth it for me. Just take this opportunity for everything it's worth. Be eager and volunteer for any experience you can. The more you put yourself out there the more you'll get out of it. And always ask, the worst they can say is no. Enjoy!
  10. by   Soon2BNurse3
    Wow....I'm in an ADN program and we are allowed to pass meds as long we we double check them with our RN before giving. We're also able to do IV insertions, IVPBs & IVPs but with RN supervision of course.
  11. by   Irene joy
    I'm a nurse tech, I believe the same as nurse exturn. The position in only for nursing students. I'm on a cardiovascular unit that specializes in chest pain rule out, post cardiac cath procedures and various other things. I take lots of vitals, transport patients to Xray, ultrasound, discharge to car. I can draw blood for labs, insert catheters, take blood sugars and get 12 EKGs set up. Last week my nurse evan taught me to pull a femoral sheath! Not that I would do that myself but still cool. Good luck with your externship, you'lle learn a lot!
  12. by   MissDoodaw
    Hi,
    I worked as a nurse extern in Texas in an emergency deppartment. I was allowed to do everything the techs could do + whatever a supervising nurse would allow -no meds though period. I got to do lots of IV's NG's, foleys, wound care and dressings, ekg's, restraints, suicide monitoring, etc.... It was a super experience. I started in the summer before I graduated and I continued to do this through the rest of school, then I was offered a job w/ this unit and I loved it!

    Read your states Board of nursing practice act and see if they mention externs, also read your hospital's policy manual to meke sure you are within your scope of practice then go for it!
    Good Luck to you.
  13. by   HeatherISU
    I was a Nurse Extern in Indiana. I already worked as a SNA which is just like a PCA/aide. As an extern, I passed meds except IV pushes, take dr orders, and could not hang blood. It was much like a LPN I believe. An RN watched over me and was with me most of the time, and signed off everything I did. At first I watched, but after she felt comfortable she would let me do med passes, assessments, and such pretty much on my own. Afterwards, I went onto an SNA II position where I did it all by myself and floated much like another staff nurse. I loved it and was very happy I had the chance to do it.

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