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

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, if you are thinking that you must complete an internship after you earn your diploma or degree. This is true because when you study nursing, your clinical courses provide the experience you need to provide professional nursing care. 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 class work prepares the graduate for the licensing examination in his or her state.

You may become a nurse 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 int 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.

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

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.

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