Different hospitals and health care facilities have different internship programs that allow nursing students to gain experience while they are still in college. Most internships are offered during summertime; however, they may differ depending on the length and intensity of the program.
All internship programs have requirements for the nurse students who want to participate. The requirements vary according to the health care institution’s specialization; therefore, you need to make sure that you qualify for the internship program you’ve chosen. For instance, some hospitals accept only full-time students; others expect applicants who have taken specific classes, etc.
Nursing internship programs usually include gaining hands-on experience under supervision and the accomplishment of different tasks (from administrative to patient care). All students have a mentor (a registered nurse) who’s in charge of their progress.
Types of Nursing Internships
Research Program Intern
If you are interested in research in the medical and healthcare fields, you can apply for one of the research internship programs. These programs are focused on studying the development and use of medications and their effects. Interns will work with patients a little, but they will mainly be focused on assisting doctors and researchers and writing down test results and findings.
An administrative nursing internship is ideal for those students who’d like to try handling various management tasks. If you are interested in a healthcare-related job but don’t want to be a nurse who directly attends to patients, you can consider an administrative nursing job. As an intern, you have a great opportunity to understand how a nursing department works, how to run it, and how to keep the medical facility in order. Administrative nurses are in charge of management, schedules, and supplies; they also supply workers to meet the hospital’s demand and serve as mediators between doctors, nurses, and the board of directors. Such an internship will teach you how to combine your nursing skills and your managerial skills. Keep in mind, however, that a full-time position of a qualified administrative nurse will require both clinical experience and a specialized certification/an advanced degree.
Community Health Intern
This may be a challenging internship depending on the type of the community health facility. Nurses are needed everywhere: in hospitals, clinics and medical offices, mental health and addiction treatment centers, birth centers, hospice care facilities, dialysis facilities, imaging and radiology centers, and so on. Thus, an internship in a community health facility is exactly what can give you the toughest experience, as you’ll be working directly with doctors and patients and sometimes with those without health insurance, chronically ill, or socially disadvantaged ones. This internship is a perfect way to see if you can actually handle working in a community health center.
A bilingual internship is a great opportunity if you are fluent in a foreign language, specifically Spanish. The demand for medical workers who can attend to patients in Spanish has been gradually increasing over the years with the increasing number of Spanish-speaking patients. Therefore, a bilingual internship is a very popular and beneficial program. Not only will you be able to improve the knowledge and skills in your field of specialization, but you will also have an excellent opportunity to practice Spanish.
Nursing Internship Examples
Here are a few examples of nursing student internship postings online.
Maine General Health
Duration: 8 weeks, full-time
Location: Augusta, ME
Benefits: Employee discount program, up to 2% of eligible pay in 403(b) company-matching contributions, 2% in the 401(a) retirement income plan
Maine General Health offers various nursing internships for college students.
One of them is a position advertised on Indeed—Student Nurse Internship—with the following requirements: “Candidates must be active on the State of Maine CNA registry before the internship begins in May 2022. This amazing opportunity consists of working two 12-hour shifts a week as a CNA on our med/surg floors. In addition to these shift assignments, there are paid job observations/shadows in various specialty areas during the internship. You will be able to gain experience in med/surg while observing in specialty areas of interest.”
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare
Duration: 9 weeks, full-time
Location: Alton, IL
Benefits: Tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness options
“The Student Nurse Intern is an unlicensed person who, under the direction of a Registered Professional Nurse (RN), participates in the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of patient care. By participating in the healthcare environment and enhancing their knowledge of patient and family care needs in a given clinical area(s), the SNI will prepare for their future transition as a staff nurse.“
Requirements: Interns are required to have a letter of recommendation from a faculty member and proof of enrollment in an accredited professional BSN nursing program; entering the senior year of college is also a must.
Location: Geneva, IL
Here is who they expect to apply and their scope of work: “In addition to performing normal duties of a Nursing Assistant, must demonstrate competency in technical nursing skills generally learned/acquired before beginning the last year of a nursing program; job duties will expand as skills are learned and competencies are documented by RN partner.”
Requirements: One of the program’s requirements is a completed clinical rotation and is within one year of completion of their nursing program. Read the full description of the internship position on Indeed.
More nursing student internship positions for this summer can be found on Indeed.
The Bottom Line
A nursing internship allows you to test your skills and knowledge in a real working environment. Depending on the type of internship, you can see whether administrative work suits you or not and whether you can cope with the nursing functionality and all the challenges of the community healthcare facility. We recommend checking the medical internship opportunities offered in your college as well as by local clinics and hospitals. We don’t urge you to be an overachiever with five internships by the time you graduate. However, we hope that one of the internships you participate in will help you find a full-time job in the department you like. Good luck!