What Is a Nursing Externship?

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By definition, an externship member is a medical worker still attending nursing school but engaged in clinical settings, gaining practical experience under the supervision of experienced specialists. The goal of the externship is to advance the student’s training and familiarity with the clinical care environment while having limited duties and responsibilities. Most colleges consider the externship a voluntary and unpaid activity; however, some offer remuneration for work done, but not as much as someone who has attained all the required certifications and registration to work as an RN.

Features of Nursing Externships

Gaining practical experience to support theoretical knowledge is integral to one’s journey to becoming a nurse practitioner. As a nurse, you will be working in a stressful setting with high risks. This requires nursing students to participate in a student nurse extern program, which allows them to work in medical settings with real patients to grow their knowledge and skills.

During the externship, you can work more closely with mentors and nursing teams, cooperate with various healthcare specialists, and shadow caring and communicating with patients. Thus, you can not only advance your skills but also boost your chances of getting employment after graduating from nursing school.

The length of the nursing externship varies depending on program and school policies. Some consider working for a few weeks during the summer holidays, while others may offer part-time work for a few months.

What Do Nurse Externs Do?

Nursing externs work in clinical settings as they continue their studies, offering medical care to patients while maintaining their student status. Since externship participants are still learners, the range of their roles is somewhat limited, especially in intensive care. Nursing externships often entail reporting to doctors and head nurses, who are generally required to shadow licensed nurses and other healthcare professionals. You may handle tasks similar to those of a nursing assistant, including recording patient information, monitoring vital signs, drawing blood, and wound care. You may also operate dialysis equipment as you collaborate with fellow externship members and lead nurses.

What Are the Benefits of Nursing Externship?

The main benefit of being an extern nurse is gaining valuable skills and experience while putting into practice what you have learned in the classroom. You have more room for error and learning as you prepare for a future career in nursing. Besides, externship often provides exposure to various areas of nursing, such as intensive and emergency care, critical care, pediatrics, geriatrics, etc. This way, you can cooperate with different specialties and healthcare providers who could shape you as a professional.