Nursing is a field that involves taking care of ill patients and supporting doctors with their medical treatment. Although becoming a nurse can be lengthy, it can be a rewarding career for those who like to assist others. If you want to become a nurse, participating in a nurse internship can be an exemplary aspect of your nursing education and career path.
Deciding on a career in nursing is a process that involves acquiring skills and knowledge within a particular clinical practice area, as well as gaining practical experience. Nurse internships are invaluable in helping student nurses confirm their career choice.
Although a nursing student may be passionate about working with new mothers and babies, only experience in an obstetrics unit can affirm that they have made the right decision. Internships allow aspiring nurses to identify what they find most interesting and fulfilling while enabling them to acquire valuable skills.
What is a nurse internship?
Nurse internships allow student nurses to acquire practical skills while providing patient care in a clinical or hospital environment. They will mainly operate under the supervision of a licensed nurse or physician.
Nursing students can observe experienced nurse professionals and learn from their techniques and behavior during this period. They can also try out new nursing techniques and practice communicating with patients.
Specific nursing internships may concentrate on a particular nursing field, allowing interns to gain a more in-depth understanding of that school’s career center of specialization and determine their preferred area of nursing.
- Cardiac Nursing: This area of nursing focuses on caring for patients who are experiencing illnesses related to the heart.
- Emergency room (ER) nursing: Nurses in the emergency room provide care for patients who have suffered sudden injuries or trauma when they first come to the hospital.
- Critical care nursing: Nurses specializing in this field care for the daily health needs of critically ill patients during their hospital stay.
- Pediatric Nursing: Pediatric nurses work with children in the hospital and may help mediate or explain care to the child’s guardian.
- Natal clinic nursing: Natal clinic nursing involves caring for newborn babies and their mothers following childbirth.
- Psychiatric nursing: Psychiatric nurses specialize in helping patients facing acute mental, behavioral, or emotional challenges.
- Hospice care: Hospice care nurses provide medical care to patients in their last days and weeks of life.
What to Expect from a Nursing Internship
Nursing internships are opportunities for nursing students who still need to be licensed and recent nurse graduates to gain clinical experience by shadowing licensed nurses. Through these professional learning experiences, interns can work with actual patients and receive guidance and support from professional healthcare organizations and professionals throughout.
Nursing internships are typically full-time positions that last for 10- to 12-week summer sessions, although some internship programs may extend up to a year. Applicants for most nursing internships must meet specific criteria, such as enrolling in an accredited nursing program and completing particular courses.
The requirements for the internship will depend on its specific type. Nevertheless, candidates must finish an introductory life support class and a basic nursing course to get hired.
What Do Nursing Interns Do?
Nursing interns can watch registered nurses as they carry out their daily tasks. Through this experience, interns gain a firsthand understanding and supervision of registered nurses’ work hours, shifts, interactions with colleagues and patients, and responsibilities. This helps interns better appreciate nursing work’s rewards, difficulties, and complexities.
Interns are given numerous responsibilities and tasks, including taking care of patients’ daily needs, like eating and hygiene, and assisting registered nurses with their duties. This often involves taking on the role of a nursing assistant.
Responsibilities of Nurse Interns
The specific duties of a nursing intern can vary depending on the institution they are working at. Typically, interns are supervised by registered nurses who instruct nursing students on patient care procedures.
Internships can have different focuses, some focusing on clinical hours in a specific care area while others have rotations through various patient assignments. These rotations may involve caring for patients from different age groups, such as pediatric, adolescent, adult, and geriatric.
Benefits of Nursing Internships
Nursing students can participate in internships to gain practical learning opportunities and clinical experiences that complement their theoretical knowledge. Additionally, paid internships can help nursing students financially and facilitate their learning.
Internship participation can enhance your nursing skills, including technical abilities and interpersonal aptitudes. In addition, during your internship, you can improve or learn specific hard and soft skills you use daily to complete your work. Hard skills refer to particular abilities.
Practicing in an actual hospital environment can boost your self-assurance as a nurse, making you feel more at ease when talking to patients and meeting their needs.
Developing your problem-solving abilities and trusting your instincts can help you manage unexpected challenges in the workplace.
Creating a professional network
Forming and maintaining connections with others in your field is known as networking. These connections can be beneficial in discovering new educational or professional opportunities. For example, if you can find nursing internships or a hospital hiring new nurses, they might offer you a permanent position once you finish your internship or education.
The individuals you meet during your internship can serve as valuable professional mentors for you in the future. Through periodic meetings, you can seek their guidance on career development and which opportunities to pursue. Ultimately, when you apply for jobs, they might serve as references or provide you with recommendation letters if you ask for them.
Exposure to Diverse Work Environments
There are many nursing specialties, and some nursing students may need help deciding which area to focus. With practical experience, it’s easier to determine if they’ll find more fulfillment working as a surgical or hospice nurse. However, sometimes, nursing students realize their assumed perfect job location and position may not suit them.
Nursing internships allow nursing students to understand the responsibilities of various roles better. These internships also help students learn more about a nursing school-specific specialty area by experiencing it firsthand.
Guidance from Experts
The role of registered nurses and mentors is to provide nursing interns with a safe environment to develop their clinical skills. In addition, they share professional tips and tricks to expand nursing interns’ practical knowledge and empower them to work confidently in all types of situations.
Nursing interns can observe expert responses and who they contact during emergencies. They also have the chance to listen to how a seasoned nurse communicates abnormal findings like changes in skin color or respiratory rate to the doctor and what interventions are requested.
How to get a Nursing Internship
Understand the qualifications
Applicants may need to meet different qualifications for various nursing programs and internships. Review the requirements beforehand to increase your chances of being a suitable candidate for the program. Consider qualifications such as age, education, and professional experience when applying.
Use your professional network.
Connect with people in your professional network, such as peers, college students, professors, mentors, or nurses you have worked with in the past, to inquire about potential internship opportunities. In addition, consider utilizing your school’s alumni network or career counseling services. They may suggest a program or hospital for you to apply to.
Research nursing internship opportunities
To find nursing internship opportunities, start by compiling a list of the healthcare facilities and organizations you’re interested in, and then check their websites to see if they offer internships. Another to look for new internship opportunities is to attend job fairs or browse online job boards. When searching on a job website, you can adjust the search parameters to suit your preferences.
Apply to internships
You may apply to your preferred top programs after choosing your selected internship opportunities. However, it is essential to note that the program’s application requirements may vary.
Checking the deadlines for each application and creating a schedule to complete and submit each element of your application could be helpful.
Expand Your Education with a Nursing Internship
Nurses can benefit from internships as they can use them to advance their careers and identify their interests. With the help of experts, they can further enhance their career center and their skills and knowledge.
It’s beneficial for nurses to research diverse internship opportunities to find the ideal springboard for their careers. So begin your job search or for a nursing internship today to discover the learning experience that can help shape your future.