Do I have to Complete an Internship to be a Nurse?

Nurses do not have to complete an internship to be a nurse but being an intern can provide valuable training. If you are thinking about becoming a nurse, you might wonder whether you need to complete an internship to become a nurse. The short answer to that question is no. So, if you are thinking that you must complete an internship after you earn your diploma or degree you can relax. This is true because when you study nursing, your clinical courses provide the experience you need to provide professional nursing care.

What Do you Gain from a Nursing Internship?

Nursing programs have both classroom and clinical components. The type of program in which you enroll will determine how many courses you take. However, every professional nursing education program will require the clinical component that aspiring nurses must take to graduate. Successful completion of clinical practice and classwork prepares the graduate for the licensing examination in his or her state.

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You may become a nurse by enrolling in a program that leads to a licensed practical nurse credential. This program is generally one year in length and courses include English composition, science, math, medical terminology, pharmacology, and social sciences. The clinical component is taught in various health care settings where LPN/LVN candidates provide hands-on patient care. After successful completion of the program, the graduate takes a licensing exam. Passing the licensing exam permits the nurse to work and no internship is required.

What do Nursing Interns Do?

If becoming a registered nurse is the goal, expect to attend school for two, three, or four years. Community and junior college programs for registered nurses take two years and lead to the associate degree. Hospital-based diploma nursing programs take two to three years to complete, and bachelor’s programs take four years.

Courses taken in these programs include English composition, sociology, psychology, biology; anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and medical terminology.

What is Expected of a Nursing Student?

Registered nurse candidates in bachelor’s degree programs take additional liberal arts courses that prepare them for administrative roles. Additionally, they complete clinical courses in health care facilities to prepare them in patient care skills, including direct care, assessment, and documentation. Once registered nurse candidates complete their classroom studies and clinical experience successfully, they can take the RN examination. Upon passing the exam they are qualified to work as registered nurses.

Some health care facilities will hire a nursing school graduate to work in a position known as a “graduate nurse,” while he or she is waiting on the outcome of the nursing examination. After being notified of a passing score, the title changes to registered nurse.