Not allowed to choose senior practicum


Hello all,

I'm a senior nursing student and found out today that we aren't allowed to choose where we do our practicum, but are going to be assigned to med-surg floors of the hospitals we choose only. Is this the norm for everyone?? Going through nursing school I thought we would be able to choose, whether it be OB, peds, ER, ICU, CCU med-surg, etc., to "try out" which speciality we have found we liked the best and wanted to try out, or get more experience in to get a job after we graduate. I'm disappointed and wondering if our class should try to change this or if this is normal, and I should just try to enjoy the experience?


1,078 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

Where I went to nursing school in the south east, they also pulled that stuff on us! I personally told them that next time you should tell people up front! I got into several nursing schools. Most of the ones in the area allowed you to pick any area you like with the understanding that not everyone was gonna get nicu or L&D and that your grades better be top of the class for those areas. It put me at a disadvantage in the job market because hospitals are now treating practicum like your preceptorship since they don't have to pay you. I am still bitter about it... I learned nothing useful in med/surg and I did as promised...I have only used my license in emergency care and am proud of it!

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,330 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

It really depends on preceptors who volunteer to work with practicum students. Perhaps your school could only find volunteers on med/surg floors. I was not able to pick my practicum specialty. We were able to list our top 3 preferences, but because of the limited number of preceptors in specialties other than med/surg, about 97% of my class ended up in med/surg.


947 Posts

Specializes in L&D. Has 2 years experience.

I start practicum next quarter. If we do well enough on the ATI predictor test we can do 24hrs medsurg and our other 24hrs can be a specialty. If we don't do as well, then you do all 48hr medsurg. As far as I know, you can pick the hospital as long as you have an approved preceptor, but I really dont know much about it.


8 Posts

Not only did the hospitals say no to our school for preceptorships this year.. the faculty assigned us to our locations themselves. And they're all outpatient. So it differs greatly.

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

We were never allowed to pick ours.I did get one I didn't care for and I wasn't happy but I got through it and it wasn't too bad.

Specializes in ED. Has 5 years experience.

We were able to tell our instructors our top three choices for where we would like to do practicum, and they tried to accommodate. Not everyone got what they wanted, and if you were ever given a U for any clinical day ever in the program, you automatically got med-surg no matter what. I got ER for mine though, which is what I wanted, and I'm pretty happy with how they sort out who gets to go where for their practicum experience.


475 Posts

We do not get to choose b/c of limited preceptors. They can only do so much.

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

We were allowed to choose our practicums, but if we scored below the recommended 850 on the med-surg HESI we were either stuck on a stepdown floor or med-surg floor. I wanted ICU more than anything and I remember rocking the critical care HESI exam. I did okay on the med-surg one, but I did score below an 850. They put me on a cardiac stepdown with eight of those beds being a VICU (vascular). At first I was really disappointed because I wanted CVICU or SICU, but I ended up loving my practicum. And I ended up getting hired on a similar unit after I graduated.


905 Posts

We were allowed to request where we wanted to go, and our faculty would try and set us up with what we wanted, but it wasn't guaranteed because of the preceptors. Most people got what they wanted. One girl was stuck doing LTC which she didn't want to do, but I know the faculty didn't like her that much so I am sure that had something to do with it.