How to Prepare for Your First Nursing Internship

Tue, Apr 17, 2012

Internship Information

While it’s highly advisable for virtually all professions, when it comes to the medical field, it’s impossible for a person to get licensed to practice without first completing an internship. And so, if you’re studying to be a nurse, no matter how high your grades are, you can pretty much expect this to be a part of your curriculum; one that you can actually look forward to because it provides you with some hands-on and practical training—the kind that you wouldn’t be able to learn by just sitting in a classroom or lab.

So how do you prepare for your first nursing internship? These three tips will help to get you started.

Find the Right Place

The first thing that you need to do is find the right place to intern to begin with. The school that you’re attending customarily has a list of local places that annually accept nurse internships. The benefit in going this route is that there’s a great chance that the hospitals or organizations already have a longstanding relationship with your institution and so they know what kind of curriculum that you’ve been receiving. If your school doesn’t have a list, you can either go to the career services department on campus or contact local hospitals and companies directly. Whichever route you choose to take, it’s best to go somewhere that already has an intern schedule in place because you don’t want to spend so much time having them adjust to having an intern that you miss out on some of the key components that come with being a part of a thorough internship.

Prepare for the Interview

Once you have a couple of interviews scheduled, it’s then time to prepare for them. Although it’s an internship and not the offer for an official job, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take it just as seriously. Again, an internship is required to be a licensed nurse and so it’s imperative that you get one on your resume. Because being a nurse is as much about customer service as it is medical knowledge and practicum, be prepared to be asked questions not just about some of the things that you have learned as it relates to nursing, but how you handle yourself in tense and potentially chaotic situations. There’s a good chance that you’ll be asked some mathematical and conversion questions as it relates to dosages and measurements due to the fact that a big part of a nurses job is to correctly administering medication. You may also be given scenarios or be asked to role play certain emergency or patient room scenes. This isn’t the time to be nervous or shy; this is the time to act on what you know because, remember, that’s what being a nurse is all about.

Understand That It’s to Bring About Clarity

There’s a good chance that you’ve already taken the majority of your HESI exam before accepting an internship and so while you may have the book knowledge when it comes to being a nurse, an internship will give you the day-to-day experience to come to the realization of if it’s something that you really want to do with the rest of your life. Another part of what comes with preparing for an internship is accepting that there’s a possibility that being a nurse may not be what you ultimately want to do or that you’ll want to enter into a different kind of field than you initially thought. Either way, that’s OK. One of the greatest benefits that comes with an internship is that it’s like a job “test run” and so if you walk away with a “Yes! I love this line of work” or a “No, this isn’t for me”, so long as you figure out the best route for you, either way, you pass.

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