Should You Consider a Nursing Internship?
Nursing schools require students to complete a set number of clinical hours to ensure they receive the hands-on experience they need to be successful. Although these experiences can be beneficial, they don't always allow training nurses the opportunity to connect with patients and follow the progression of care. A nursing internship can help fill those gaps and give you a better idea of what a nursing career actually feels like, especially in a certain specialty.
So how do you know if a nursing internship is right for you? Read on to learn more about these educational opportunities and find out the benefits that nurse interns receive from completing such programs.
What Is A Nursing Internship?
Nursing internships allow students the opportunity to work alongside experienced nurses as they perform daily shift duties. Soon-to-be nurses or new nurses are placed in a professional hospital setting and get to learn all the aspects of nursing that can't be taught in the classroom or during clinicals.
Offered frequently as summer programs through hospitals or nursing schools, nurse internships require applications that are often similar to the job-seeking process. From start to finish, a nursing internship provides a more immersive experience for future nurses so they can feel more prepared when they graduate.
How Can A Nursing Internship Help Me?
There are many career benefits that come with working as a nurse intern. These benefits can help ease the transition from school to employment and can provide valuable lessons in patient care that only come from personal experience.
Learn About The Collaboration Between Health Care Professionals
When studying in nursing school, students are surrounded by nurses and others working toward becoming nurses. This makes it difficult to fully understand the collaborative effort necessary to heal the patients that come under your care. In a nursing internship, students get a front-row seat to the communication required between all healthcare professionals and the skills needed to navigate differing opinions on care.
Build Confidence In Skills
Skills labs provide opportunities to practice necessary nursing procedures, but internships may allow you the chance to perfect these techniques. Using a skill you aren't yet confident in can be less intimidating when you have a more seasoned professional at your side to help guide you through it. This is especially true if the procedure has the potential to cause a patient discomfort or pain, such as drawing blood, inserting an IV port or placing a catheter. It can be comforting to have an experienced nurse available to take over if you see the patient is in distress or to ask questions of if you're unsure about something.
Establish Professional Relationships
Working one-on-one with another nurse can create a professional bond that may help ease any insecurities about the start of your nursing career. In addition, you'll meet other healthcare workers and learn how to navigate the social dynamic found in a hospital or clinic setting. These relationships could continue long after the internship is over, creating a support system of people who understand the pressures and strain of working with patients who are frightened and in pain. When you find yourself struggling in a particular area of patient care, these mentors may offer insight on ways to cope.
Improve Your Employment Prospects
Along with befriending the people you encounter during your nursing internship, there is also the possibility that you will make connections that could lead to future employment. The healthcare industry is often close-knit and someone you've spent time with could alert you to job openings or serve as a references on the quality of the care you provide. Sometimes, nurse interns make a positive impression on the facility where the internship takes place, leading to offers of employment after the program is over. Like any other profession, the connections you make can mean the difference between filling a position that's available or doing the job you love.
Nursing internships are an excellent way to bridge the gap between school and real-life applications. If you have any anxiety about how you will apply the lessons you've learned on the patients put under your care, working as a nurse intern can give you insight on the kind of nurse you are and help you identify the kind of nurse you want to become.