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What Are Nursing Internships?
Nursing school can only take you so far. Once you've learned the theory, you must put your education into practice and get some real-world experience. That's where nursing internships can help.
Often administered by hospitals, nursing internships allow you to work alongside experienced nurses. You'll assist them, learn from them, and greatly improve your education as a result.
What Do You Do As a Nursing Intern?
As a nursing intern, you will be working with real patients in a clinical setting. Your duties will vary, but they could include assisting patients with activities of daily living, evaluating a patient's condition, and putting patients at ease.
Do Nurse Interns Get Paid?
Interns are paid for their time. The amount they earn varies based on their state and employer, but the average pay for a nurse intern is around $15 per hour.
In addition, nursing students are given an insight into the life of a nurse, glimpsing what their future career will be like. It's an invaluable experience.
Am I Eligible for a Nursing Internship?
Eligibility requirements vary, but you will typically be asked to verify that you have health insurance and up-to-date immunizations. You must also be enrolled as a student and your school will need to have an affiliation agreement with the hospital.
How Long is a Nursing Internship?
Internship programs are completed in 10-week blocks during the summer months. You must apply several months before the summer, though, so make sure you're prepared well in advance.
Do I Need to Complete an Internship Program to Be a Nurse?
Although nursing students are encouraged to look into internship programs, they are not essential for completing a nursing degree and becoming a registered nurse. There are clinical components to these degrees, but they don't necessarily include summer internship programs.
Clinicals vs Internships vs Practicums
Although clinicals, internships, and practicums are very similar, they are not the same thing.
Clinicals happen in rotation, giving the nursing student experience in many areas of the hospital. They spend most of their time observing and learning.
A practicum requires nursing students to work alongside registered nurses and fulfill basic medical tasks, such as data entry.
Internships are much more hands-on, providing clinical training that will thrust the student into the nursing experience.
What are the Benefits of Nursing Internships?
As with any kind of study program or internship, you get out what you put in. But if you're willing to work hard, pay attention, and absorb as much information as possible, a nursing internship could provide you with all the following benefits:
You Get to Learn a Specialty
Most internships occur on a single unit, one that deals with a highly specialized area of healthcare. Working within that unit will teach you about those specialties and the complexities involved with patient care.
If you're not sure what specialty you want to focus on, an internship could help to sway you. If you've already made up your mind, an internship might change it.
You Will Learn Alongside a Registered Nurse
As an intern, you will be shown the way by a registered nurse. They will teach you, observe you, and encourage you to get hands-on.
An experienced registered nurse has seen and heard things you couldn't possibly imagine. They have experienced the best and worst of the nursing profession and have some incredibly useful insights to teach you.
You Will Gain Valuable Experience
As a nursing student, you need to be a sponge for information and experiences. The more you learn, the sooner you will achieve your goals and the further your career will go. Your school will help you to obtain most of that knowledge, but an internship program could expedite your education and teach you things you would otherwise overlook.
You'll Build Relationships
As the old saying goes, It's not what you know, it's who you know. And as a nursing student, it helps to know supervisors, doctors, experienced nurses, and other staff members. You'll be making connections that could benefit your education and career.
You Could Secure a Job
If you're not excited about the prospect of gaining experience or earning a little cash, think of your internship as a 10-week long interview. If you work hard, learn fast, and commit yourself to the cause, you could be hired as soon as you graduate.
Supervisors and other staff members remember student nurses that worked hard and made a good impression. The demand for qualified nurses is high, and the need for good nurses is even higher. If you meet both of these requirements, you could have a job waiting for you when you finish your degree.
You'll Get Paid
Although an internship is all about acquiring experience and furthering your education, it's also a job, and one that will earn you a paycheck at the end of the day. You won't earn as much as a fully qualified registered nurse, but at around $15 an hour, it's still a very respectable pay.
It Will be a Huge Confidence Boost
Summer internships can lift your confidence and prepare you for continued education.
Imagine how much better you'll feel about your skills and knowledge if you have 3 months of clinical experience behind you. Nursing is a very challenging profession. It's high-stress, high-responsibility, and high-energy. It's daunting, to say the least, but if you have real clinical experience, you'll be more confident about your ability to handle it.
You'll also have some bragging rights, as your peers may not have the same experiences as you.
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