What Are the Different Types of Nursing Student Internships?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 May 2018
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Nursing student internships are similar to other types of internships in terms of hours, opportunity for pay, and career development. Sometimes, nursing students are given internship opportunities via their nursing programs, and sometimes they find internship programs on their own. Most nurses want to find internships close to their desired areas of interest. Of course, nurses who are still undecided can use nursing student internships to better acquaint themselves with the different areas of medical practice. After graduation, some nursing students find employment at the institution for which they interned.

Ideally, nursing students will find nursing student internships that place them close to the area of study they’re most interested in. For example, a student who wants to work with babies will find an internship in the maternity or pediatric ward of a hospital. Likewise, a student who wants to work as a scrub nurse will find an internship in the surgical wing of a hospital. Sometimes, the school’s nursing program determines which nursing student internships various students are assigned to. Other times, it depends on the area hospitals and availability of internship positions.


Nursing student internships are similar to other kinds of internships in that interns can find full-time and part-time positions. Depending on the nursing program and the hospital, some nursing student internships might be flexible in terms of part-time and full-time hours. For example, if a nursing student’s schedule allows him or her to work a full-time shift one day and a part-time shift the next, he or she might be able to choose his or her own hours according to that schedule. Some nursing students are able to find summer internships, too. A nursing student who isn’t able to find an internship, or who isn’t far enough along in his or her coursework to work as an intern might decide to complete volunteer work with a hospital.

Whether a nursing student is paid for his or her internship work depends on the nursing program and the institution for which he or she interns. For example, some students must complete clinical programs as part of class coursework, and these might be considered unpaid internships. Generally, these unpaid internships don’t last long and are over once the class is complete. Closer to graduation, students might be able to take part in paid internships. Usually, these paid internships last longer, offer more hours, and are more similar to the specialty the student plans to pursue once he or she graduates.

After a nursing student graduates, he or she can use the work experience he or she gained during his or her internship as a steppingstone to a full-time nursing job. Oftentimes, hospitals, clinics, and individual doctors’ offices hire nurses who completed student internships with them. Sometimes these arrangements are made before the nursing students graduate.



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