Career Resources

Career Resources


Nursing externships are valuable learning and networking opportunities for future nurses. Similar to a business internship, a nursing externship is an experiential learning opportunity that allows you to practice and expand upon what you have learned in a real-world setting. It also enables you to experience a setting and evaluate if it is one you wish to pursue. And, an externship gives you the opportunity to develop your professional network and potential identify a mentor that might aid you throughout your career. For these reasons, externships can be invaluable to nursing students.


An externship search resembles any job search process. However, it can involve more follow through and more flexibility on the part of the externship searcher as fewer externship opportunities exist in comparison to permanent positions. An externship emphasizes nursing student learning – as such, it is investment on the behalf of the employer that requires staff hours and, potentially, salary dollars. Because of this not all healthcare employers currently offer externships. This has been the case in New Jersey recently, and though externships still exist there are fewer in New Jersey then there once was. As a result they can be more difficult to find. Searchers need to be persistent and, if possible, consider opportunities outside of New Jersey.
Though there are exceptions to this, most employers require that students participate in one Med-Surg clinical rotation prior to starting an externship. This does not mean you have to wait until you finish Med-Surg to start searching – only to start working in the externship role. If you know that you will have completed a Med-Surg rotation prior to the start of the externship, you can apply. Though each organization has different requirements, enrollment in a BSN and completion of one Med-Surg rotation are the only consistent requirements. Review requirements for each organization you identify with to ensure that you are in compliance.

A thorough summer externship search should begin the fall before you anticipate beginning the externship. Though deadline dates for externships vary, many of the more competitive, nationally based, externship recruitment processes begin in the fall semester. If you decide to pursue an externship late or are still hunting in the spring, do not give up as additional externships open up through the fall and spring semesters – hence the need for persistence.

To start off your search you will need to develop a strong resume. Attend a Resume Writing Workshop or visit the Resume Writing section of the Rutgers School of Nursing Career Resources website for instructions on how to write it and for resume samples. If you are writing your resume in the fall, include what your spring semester clinical rotations will be (as soon as you know), with the semester and year. Once you have developed your resume meet with or send your resume to the Career Counseling Officer for her to review and make suggestions for strengthening it. Though resumes don’t win candidates jobs/roles, they can eliminate you if they are not well done, so having a career counselor review your resume is a positive step to securing the role you want.

For more information explore the following topics:

Identifying Opportunities

Once you have your resume prepared, you are ready to start applying. Be as flexible as you can be.  A summer externship offers you a wonderful opportunity to spend some time in another part of the country while gaining the practical experience that will give you an edge in the post-graduation job market. Additionally, the current number of externship opportunities in New Jersey is not significant. Being flexible about locations will give you a better chance of securing an externship. Many externship sites can assist you in identifying temporary housing.

Three methods are recommended – use all.

1.    Method One – Review Advertised

*     Tip: It may be helpful to start a progress chart to include program, program contact information, deadline dates, materials required, and your status in their process. If you are conducting a wide search, this can assist you in organizing your process.

2.    Method Two – Identify places you’d like to Extern

3.    Method Three - Look outside the box for experience

Apply for opportunities
1. Preparing for Interviews
2. Types of Interviews
3. In-Person Interviews
4. Follow Up
While on-site

Congratulations! You secured your Externship! While you are there, make the most of it





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