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Graduate Clinical Rotations: Frequently Asked Questions

Where are clinical sites located?

Clinical sites are located throughout and beyond the Puget Sound area.  Sites vary and include:

  • private practice
  • HMO
  • health department
  • Indian Health
  • correctional centers
  • community clinic health care
  • pediatrics
  • veterans' health care
  • urban and rural health

Sites are often difficult to secure due to competition from other health education programs, restrictions from managed care on the scope of practice, current Medicare guidelines and other limitations. Traveling to clinical sites should be expected.  Therefore, it is helpful to have a car available to you.

When will I be expected to be at a clinical site?

Clinical placement requires that students have a flexible schedule. You can expect to be placed at a clinical site on any day of the week that does not conflict with your course schedule.

Who are our preceptors?

Preceptors may be physicians, nurse practitioners, osteopaths, physician assistants or other providers who are approved by your faculty and/or Clinical Placement Coordinator. Many have previous experience precepting students and others are just beginning to add teaching to their profession. It is important to respect preceptors at all times including before, during and after clinical experiences; they provide an invaluable piece of your clinical education.

A thank you note after your clinical experience is a gracious gesture. You may not always get the exact site you want, but there is something to be learned from each site. You will have a more satisfying clinical experience if you seek out circumstances to enhance your time with each preceptor.

How are clinical placements made?

All clinical placements are made at the sole discretion of the faculty and staff of the program.

All students are placed by their respective track’s Clinical Placement Coordinator. You may be asked to detail the type of clinical you desire, the days you are available for clinical, and other factors such as work and school schedules. This and other information will be considered in making your clinical placement. You are responsible for initiating contact with the appropriate faculty member to plan your clinical placement for each quarter.

Faculty and staff may have to communicate with several preceptors before securing your site. When there are multiple requests for the same site, faculty and staff will consider the following..

  • Preceptor availability
  • Other student requests for same site/preceptor
  • Your current clinical needs
  • Your previous experience
  • Your strengths and need for challenges
  • Your availability
  • Geographical considerations

To emphasize, we repeat that all clinical placements are made at the sole discretion of the faculty and staff of the track or program.

What will be required of me while I am on site?

You will work with program faculty to determine the objectives for your clinical experience each quarter. You also must be compliant with the UW School of Nursing Student Health Policy. Additionally, your are required to adhere to the standards, policies, and regulations of clinical training sites during their clinical education program. These standards include always arriving on time (if not early) to your clinical site, wearing appropriate attire (including nametags and closed-toe shoes), and conforming to the standards and practices of the site.

How do I explore the possibility of setting up a new site?

Students are encouraged to bring ideas for site placement possibilities to program faculty. Please coordinate any direct contact with preceptors through the faculty so that they can assure that all requirements are met.

What if I would like to arrange an out-of-area clinical experience?

An out-of-area clinical placement is defined as the establishment of a clinical practicum site located outside of the greater Seattle area. Out-of-area placements are special requests, usually planned far in advance for a student's final quarter of study. If you are interested in this possibility, be sure to read and follow the outlined steps for requesting an out-of-area placement.

What do I do if I am experiencing difficulty with my placement?

If you are having difficulty in a site, discuss the problem with your clinical/faculty advisor and the preceptor. If your advisor determines that a new site is needed, they will contact your Clinical Placement Coordinator. For more detailed information, please read the page Requesting a Clinical Site Change.

How are the credits for my clinical rotations calculated?

1 credit = 3 hours of clinical per week.

The basic rule for determining academic credit is 1 credit represents a total student time commitment of 3 hours each week in a 10-week quarter, or a total of 30 hours in a quarter. Total time includes time spent in class, if any; time devoted to individual conference with instructors; time devoted to reading or other study, problem solving, writing, laboratory work, exercises, or any other activity required of the student. A special number of credits must be earned for a degree.