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Nursing Externship: How It Will Kickstart Your Nursing Career

  • Nursing externship programs are a great way to get your foot in the door into the world of nursing.
  • Although they are usually unpaid experiences, they make you an extremely competitive candidate and look great on a resume!
  • Interested in what a nursing externship program is? Nursing CE Central has got you covered!
Morgan Curry, RN/BSN

Morgan Curry, BSN / RN

Intensive Care, Outpatient Surgery, Aesthetics, Education, and Nursing Leadership

June 02, 2021
Simmons University

Are you considering a nursing externship? Are you wondering if it’s worth your time and effort?

Here is all the information you need to make an informed decision on if a nursing externship is right for you and your future career in nursing.

What is a Nursing Externship?

Career experts at Zippia, define a nursing externship as being an opportunity for a nursing student to assist preceptors in a healthcare facility with their daily duties during a six-to-eight-week period.

For example, this may include providing direct patient care alongside their mentor, as well as medication administration.

Having this nursing externship experience to put on your resume can aid you in beating out your competition when it comes to being a new graduate.

Not only does it boost your resume, but it also provides you with insight into knowing if you really enjoy working in a particular area or specialty.

On the flip side, you could find out that there are specific areas in the field that you want to steer away from, and that’s okay, too! Sometimes, finding out what you don’t want to do is half of the battle and it can take years for some nurses to figure this out.

Oftentimes, if it is a place that you love, you feel as if you’re a good fit, and you advance well through the program, it is not uncommon for them to offer you a position at the end of your undergraduate program!


What Opportunities Are There?

Since nursing externships provide students the ability to get hands-on experience in the field of nursing while concurrently obtaining their BSN, the opportunities during and upon their graduation are endless.

New York State’s largest healthcare provider, Northwell Health, offers several highly competitive nursing externship programs to BSN students.

Former Molloy College nursing student, Jillian Arrigan, credits her externship for inspiring her to pursue a career in the ICU.

“Not only has this increased my clinical and practical experience and confidence, but it has shown me the true importance of caring for families, in both good times and in bad,” she said.

Some hospitals only hire BSN students as nursing externs while others may allow nurses who are enrolled in an associate degree program.


Nursing Externship: Kickstart Your Career

What Are the Benefits? Is It paid?

Online job and internship recruiting agency, GradSiren, highlights the many benefits of pursuing a nursing externship program, including:

Real-world experience

Exposure to multiple specialities

Improving professional behavior

Expertise and advice from mentors

Additionally, although most nursing externship programs often are unpaid, there are a few out there that will pay between $10-15 an hour for nursing externs!

By working in a nursing externship program, it allows nurses to develop confidence, build relationships with healthcare team members, and to learn newfound skills.

Although the experience may not be monetarily paid, I think there are several positive outcomes that are just as beneficial!


What Does a Nursing Extern Do?

Legally speaking, students involved in nursing externship programs only have the ability to perform certain tasks and are under constant supervision from a preceptor or experienced nurse.


If you are contemplating a nursing externship, there are many considerations.

As a student, I know you want to make money, but I promise you that the relationships you are building in this short time period and the experience you will gain, will be worth it in the long run!

It will truly give you a one-up on your competition after graduation, and who knows, if you’re an all-star, they may end up offering you a nice permanent position when it’s all said and done!

Good luck!

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