Nursing Internships: Learning How to Do the Job

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Nursing internships are one of the best ways to learn how to do the job of nursing at any level. Most individuals will have spent two to four years in school being educated in the processes and requirements of day–to–day nursing. They will have practiced their skills in the school setting being educated and quizzed on them; but nothing compares to the real field. With the stresses of a hospital and the need for near perfection in every task completed, it becomes essential to gain this valuable experience prior to taking on a full–time job in any location. Health internships allow individuals to get a real taste for what everyday life will be like in their field. It is not a question of if you should take an internship; it is a question of if you will survive it.

Individuals who are applying for healthcare jobs must have experience working in the industry. Generally, this experience must come from an internship—a time after your education has been completed where you are able to practice learned skills and strengthen job performance. Because of this, it is essential that the type of internship you obtain is right for the job you are taking on. This includes taking on internships in areas such as cardiology, oncology, emergency care, critical care, pediatrics, progressive aid, operating room nursing, and family practice offices, just to name a few. The key is to get on-the-job training before you actually get a job.

Internships are positions that push your limits. While most of these programs are paid healthcare jobs, interns are paid far less than skilled doctors performing the services. Full-time nursing and other healthcare jobs pay more since they are actually working for the company and providing quality service. It is expected that any healthcare internships will require intense work schedules and a learning curve. While most individuals are able to perform the basics of nursing, including virtually every procedure they are being trained to provide, they have not had this level of training on real people in a natural environment; an environment that is hectic and demanding. For this reason, most hospitals and offices expect their interns to make minor mistakes and to need guidance throughout the process.



Learning the job of a nurse, though, will require more than just being taught through internships. The skills that are needed should already have been proven in the educational element of an individual’s training from school. Yet, the on-the-job performance is something valuable individuals will gain. This includes the following elements.

  1. Learn the inner workings of the healthcare job setting. This includes learning how to work in the field, learning who is responsible for what, and learning how the hospital functions. This is one of the few areas where an intern may have no experience. However, it is fundamentally essential to have these skills to succeed in the industry.

  2. Interns learn how to handle the hectic pace of a hospital job. They learn the demands that are placed on nurses each day: physical demands, emotional strain, and long hours, to name a few. Most interns do not expect the job to be as physically demanding as it is. To qualify for healthcare jobs, though, this is an essential skill.

  3. Internships also teach individuals how to work with others in the industry. Learning to work with doctors—both those who are unforgiving and demanding and those who are not—is just as essential as learning how to perform various procedures. Interns are able to learn an exceedingly large amount of information in this way.

  4. Interns will learn the healthcare jobs they need to perform on a daily basis including how to work with patients of all types. They will learn how to talk to patients who are friendly as well as those who are scared; they will learn how to talk to families; and they will learn how to manage questions. They will learn to manage required daily tasks while still being compassionate.

  5. Healthcare internships teach individuals how to be successful in pursuing jobs in the industry while still being dedicated to the patient. Most interns have high hopes and big intentions only to find out that the politics and management in these fields are much more limiting than they realized. Nevertheless, they learn how to do their job day in and day out and to make sure that their career goals are also being fulfilled.
Healthcare internships require a great deal of time to master. Most interns work for at least a year in these positions. Some healthcare jobs require much more intensive experience than others, such as operating room positions. Other healthcare jobs require only a limited amount of on-the-job experience. The key is to gain as much knowledge as you can from the internship. This is a time to ask questions and develop good work habits. It is also helpful to work well in the environment you are in as these positions often become permanent ones for interns who prove themselves to the hospital and management within it.
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