Are nursing internships beneficial for nursing students?
Nursing internships come in several different flavors.
There’s the nursing internship for high school students, which is essentially a job-shadowing experience.
Nursing internships overseas are designed to give students different experiences than they might have in the US, while summer internships offer a chance to get some experience at home.
New-graduate internships focus on preparing the inexperienced nurse for practice in the real world. Nearly all nursing internships offer some benefits.
Being Hands-On Helps
Nursing is a highly technical profession, but it also requires excellent cognitive skills: decision-making, critical thinking, and people management.
Practicing procedures in a laboratory setting is far different from the same experience on the floor with a confused patient who is detoxing from substance abuse.
Internships can offer the opportunity for hands-on practice.
Seeing Is Believing
As an intern, a nursing student has the opportunity to observe experts in every aspect of health care.
Watching a seasoned nurse deal with a terrified child or perform a technically tricky procedure is worth dozens of hours hitting the books.
The intern should expect to be watched as well; the hospital and your potential peers or bosses get a chance to see you in action when you’re an intern.
Internships Open Doors
When people know you, they are more likely to consider you for an open position.
Even new graduates may be able to land a potion in a critical care unit if they have internship experience in that unit.
In some organizations, only those who have interned are considered for hire.
It’s advantageous for a hospital to hire someone who has been trained in that facility, so the internship may even come with an expectation that you will work for them.
Having an internship on your resume can also be a plus when you’re searching for a job.
Less Reality Shock
Being a student isn’t the same as being a graduate nurse.
You don’t have an instructor to call when you face something new, and the other nurses on the unit have plenty of their own work.
An internship can provide you with a transition period, especially if you have a good mentor.
In some organizations, nurse interns are given modified assignments until they’ve gained a little experience.
An internship can be a disaster if the mentor or preceptor hasn’t been properly trained, is a bully or uses the student/new graduate as a “gofer.”
Education and supporting a new nurse takes skill and compassion; not all experienced nurses are good at it.
In those cases, it’s better to bow out of the internship early or ask about changing preceptors.
Generally speaking however, the benefits of internships outweigh the disadvantages.
Written by 3rd in depended party
2016-23965 Exp. 6/18