What is the difference between an internship and an externship?

  1. I am hearning that once you are finishing up and in the process of passing the NCLEX-RN you should look for an externship as a way to "get a foot in the door." It is a tough market place for new grads in New Jersey right now.

    I never really understood the difference between and externship and an internship. How long to they last? Do they give you any pay or a stipend? Do you have to pay them (joking I hope)? How do you set them up?

    Please help me out!

    Jersey Nursing Girl
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  3. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    Here in Virginia, "externships" are 6-8 week paid opportunities for BSN students in the summer between junior/senior year. They are generally fulltime (30-40 hours a week). The hourly pay is not high (about the same as a patient care tech), but many have turned into job offers at the end of the summer. It is like an extended "test drive" for the nursing student and the employer. If it is not a good fit, both parties will know this after 6-8 weeks

    It is possible that some emplyers are using this format for new grads --- a 6-8 week period to see if it a good match --- and then either turning into a job offer or the end of the externship. I have not heard about this for NCLEXed individuals, but with the job market as it is now anything is possible,
  4. by   llg
    Nationally, there is some variation in how the term "internship" and "externship." So, to be sure, you have to ask the particular hospital offering the program.

    But as UVA Grad Nursing said, the term "externship" usually refers to a job for people who are still in nursing school -- prior to graduation. In some places, it is just a glorified tech or CNA position. In other places, externships provide a more formalized education program designed to supplenment the studen extern's formal education in school.

    The word "internship" is usually used to refer to an extensive orientation program designed with new grads in mind -- but may also be used by experienced nurses switching specialties. Another word for such programs is "residency."

    Some hospitals use the word "internship" for their student jobs -- and/or simply use the expression "new grad orientation" to describe a special program for new grads. That's why you have to clarify with each hospital exactly what THEIR hospital means by the words they choose and what exactly involved in any special programs offered.

    Also remember that the quality of a program is more important than the word chosen to name it. Just because a hospital uses a special word and/or has a pretty brochure and other good marketing materials ... doesn't guarantee that the program is of good quality. There are many wonderful student programs and new grad oriention programs that don't use any special labels or have fancy marketing materials. They rely on their excellent reputation and word-of-mouth for recruiting and don't need to spend money on a lot of expensive marketing strategies. There are also some programs with fancy marketing materials that are of poor quality. That's why they have to spend more of their resources on their marketing materials.