How many of you are doing nurse externships or are currently PCTs?

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It seems like about 7/8ths of my class are either working as PCTs or are in a nurse externship position this summer. I have applied at a few hospitals (who never even acknowledged my attempts) but have not been too serious in trying to get into a position like this because I currently work at a daycare, which I love. Is is really beneficial so much that it's a necessity that I try and do this? I feel left out, like I'm going to be behind everyone else when the time comes. I am taking 2 classes this summer and planned on working 38 hours a week at the daycare. Obviously that wouldn't work if I did something like this. Are the majority of you doing externships and working in the hospital as well? I realize it's great experience that is well-needed, but at the same time I keep telling myself that I love my job now and I don't want to leave, and once I'm done school I will be working in nursing for the rest of my life so why start already? I don't know... Just another thing driving me insane at the moment :rolleyes:


115 Posts

Hi, Leah! I am kind of wondering the same thing! A lot of students in my class have already signed up to extern, some of the hospitals have even interviewed and hired all their externs for the summer. Meanwhile, I am just trying to finish this semester, still have 2 tests this week, then finals next week, plus I am coordinating the pinning ceremony for the graduating class, and have to hold the student nurses association meeting (new prez :rolleyes:) this Friday! Also I will be doing a lot of fundraising projects this summer for the student nurses association, have to help orient the new students coming in. I want to extern, I feel like I need the experience, but now I don't know if I can get in! I am with Leah, will it hurt not to extern?



Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

To me i've learned a lot as an extern. There's a few externs at work that work only 1 day a week, or sometimes one day every two week, since they have a full classload on their plates


952 Posts

I'm personally glad for the experience I'm getting as a dialysis technician. I am gaining tons of patient care/relations experience. Also since I've learned to cannulate, I'm hoping that starting IVs & giving injections won't be so scary. ;)


68 Posts

If you live near a VA hospital - you may want to talk to them. I work for the one here and their policy for SNT's (student nurse technician's) is that we have no schedule and work when we want. I literally go in whenever I want and leave whenever I want. I don't even have to tell them when I'll be in - I just show up. It's great flexibility and I don't have to worry about taking time off to study, etc.

wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

You will see that in general, students who work in facilities just seem to get it. You can hear them in report. They know what to focus on and how to communicate. They're more comfortable around patients and nursing staff. Their confidence is higher and the technical skills are better because they're practiced. They see more and get more learning opportunities because the nursing staff is eager to show the ropes to students. To be sure you can tell the difference between the ones who work in the field and those who don't.

I edited this to add that beyond school a couple of years out, I wonder if it really matters. Enjoy life.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Like most things in life, there are pros and cons ... and you just have to consider them in the context of your life (not somebody else's idea of what your life should be), make the best choices you reaspmablycan, and then be prepared to live with the consequences.

Many, many years ago I turned down an offer to participate in an excellent summer extern program because I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do (study at Oxford University, England). When I came back for my senior year, yes, I was a bit behind the other students in my clinical skills and comfort in clinical situations. Yes, there was a price to pay for my decision. My senior year clinical grades were not very good and I missed out on an opportunity for experiencing things that I never did get around to doing. Sometimes, I have wondered how my career might have been different had I chosen to do the externship instead of taken the scholarship to Oxford. On a bad day, I always imagine that things would have better -- and on great days I am grateful for the wonderful summer I spent in England and for the perspective that unique educational experience gave me -- an educational opportunity few U.S. nurses ever get to experience.

In the end, I survived without the externship as do most students. In fact, I have what many people consider to be a "fantasy job" in nursing -- part of which involves coordinating my hospital's extern program.

Just do what seems right at the time and move forward. Don't spend too much time or energy second-guessing yourself. You can be successful either way.


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