Is a contract pretty standard for externships?

by klone klone, MSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 16 years experience.

I'm finishing up my first of four semesters in nursing school. I had an interview for an externship at a hospital. This was my first ever interview for a nursing-type job, so I have/had no idea what to expect regarding contracts. For this externship, they have a contract where for every month you work as an extern, you owe them a month as an RN after you graduate. So if I work for 18 months as an extern, I will have to continue working an additional 18 months for this hospital as an RN. Which totally wouldn't be an issue for me because this is a VERY nice hospital with great benefits. The rub is that it's 1.5 hours away from where we live. Anyway, if I decide, after I graduate, that I do not want to continue working for this hospital, I would owe them $1800 - $100 for every month I didn't work that I was contractually obligated to. Plus, they offer tuition reimbursement and scholarships, and if I take advantage of those benefits, I would have to pay back half of what I received.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out if this is pretty standard. Any insights would be appreciated.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU. 6,255 Posts

Definitely not standard or typical in my area. By externship, you mean a position something along the lines of a CNA/PCT/tech - possibly with some additional responsibilities or experiences since you're a nursing student? This is a paid position, right - i.e. you'd be an employee of the hospital?

If you signed this contract it would also, on the other side, obligate the hospital to have an RN position available for you - would this be immediately after graduation? Would you have to take whatever was available, regardless of the unit or shift the position was for?

Externships in my area are more like other college internships - a set position with defined responsibilities/experiences for a certain period of time.

The hospital where I'm now working as a tech has a tuition program - after I've been there 6 months I can opt to take a certain amount of money towards tuition and then be obligated to remain at the hospital as an RN for 2 years. But it's optional, not a condition of my employment.

Some things to think about. Surely there are nurse aid/PCT/tech/student nurse positions that don't require that kind of commitment. Good luck. :)

Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience. 1,270 Posts


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