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Completing Clinicals for Those Enrolled in Online Schools for Nursing

January 7th, 2011


If you are interested in earning an online education in the field of nursing, then you are in luck. Many of the nation's top schools offer online nursing degrees. Yet, for those unfamiliar with online education, it can be confusing figuring out just how they work, especially when it comes to traditionally hands-on things like internships and clinicals. Luckily, it is relatively easy to clear up that confusion.

All online nursing programs cover the same topics as campus-based nursing programs. Nursing students will learn about the fundamentals of nursing, health care ethics and laws, nursing theories, and other related topics. Also similar to classroom-based nursing students, online nursing students will be required to complete a specified number of hours in clinicals, which are internship sessions where students shadow a professional working in the field. During these clinicals, students also tackle some responsibilities in the work place much like how they would upon graduation. These clinicals help students gain experience and hands-on knowledge so that when they graduate, they will at least have some experience working in a professional health care facility. In addition, it ensures that students are able to handle working in that environment.

Unlike traditional campus-based schools, however, the clinicals that online nursing students participate in are conducted in health care facilities that are not necessarily affiliated with the school. Students are responsible for going out on their own and finding health care facilities in their area in which to complete their clinicals. They then contact the school as well as the facility to arrange an internship program. Students report to the facility for the assigned number of hours and get their internship supervisor to sign off on the time completed so that it may count towards graduation. However, if the facility that the student suggested to school does not agree to host nursing students, then the student will have to find another viable facility in which to complete his or her clinical.

Some online schools may also have a list of pre-approved clinical facilities. Students simply must ask for a list of these pre-approved facilities and secure a clinical period for themselves. Either way, in an online nursing program, the students must do most of the clinical arrangements independently.