Student nurse job description

Updated March 23, 2017

Student nurses are students in the process of obtaining a certification or undergraduate degree in nursing. A student nurse may be a candidate to be a health care assistant completing a term of hands-on study before obtaining her certificate from a local community college. She may also be a candidate for a degree in registered nursing, completing her final term of study before obtaining her university degree. The period of time a student nurse spends working in a medical setting is known as clinical education, or clinicals.

Prerequisites required

Before a student nurse can set foot in a hospital, he must complete his undergraduate class work requirements. A student nurse may take as little as a term of study in a community college nursing program before entering her final semester of work at a hospital, or as long as three years. During this time, student nurses study many different subjects including organic chemistry, microbiology, human anatomy and psychology. A student nurse will also often study subjects in the liberal arts as well to help him improve his oral and written communication skills.

Location of student nursing jobs

Student nurses may complete their term as student nurse in a hospital or nursing home. The specific area where the student works depends upon the program in question. Some schools of nursing and community colleges have specific hospitals to which students are assigned during this time. Other programs of nursing may allow a student to choose from one or more hospitals. A student may wish to work closer to her home or in a hospital with a speciality that she prefers to study more closely.

Job duties

Student nurses have many different job duties. A student nurse will assist nurses on call with whatever task requires completion at the time. Such tasks may include taking a patient's heartbeat and blood pressure, performing medical tests and noting a patient's mental and emotional condition. A student nurse learns how to perform certain medical procedures such as the insertion of an intravenous line by a licensed nursing instructor. Student nurses must master such procedures via in-class instruction at the hospital as well as through homework assignments. They receive a grade on their understanding of nursing policies as well as their ability to perform basic nursing duties.


Student nurses are considered interns and do not receive pay. Instead, student nurses receive educational credits from their academic institution. A student nurse will typically earn between 12 and 16 credits per term spent as a student nurse. A job as a student nurse can lead to a paying job in several different ways. Hospital supervisors may find a student nurse an impressive employee and thus leave a job opening for them on staff once they've graduated and passed state licensing exams. Working in a specific area of a hospital can also expose student nurses to fields they find congenial and would later like to specialise in such as NICU nursing or emergency room nursing.

Additional considerations

Student nurses often look forward to the opportunity to begin their clinical education. Here they can put what they've learnt to actual, practical use. A student nurse should prepare to study hard during this period as well as ask as many questions as possible. A job as a student nurse represents an opportunity for the candidate to learn as much as he can in a supervised setting before moving to full-time employment.

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