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Undergrad Clinical Rotations: Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get to pick where I want to go for my clinical rotations?

You are assigned to your clinical sites. For the senior practicum, a match process allows you to sign up for available clinical slots. Clinical placements are at the sole discretion of the School of Nursing.

Will I be able to set up my own clinical experience?

No. All clinical placements are managed through the School of Nursing.

Will I be assigned a clinical placement close to my home?

Clinical placements are made to ensure that all students receive the appropriate variety of experiences. Your home addresses cannot be considered in this process. Many of your clinical placements will be accessible by public transportation or by carpooling with other students.

Can I switch clinical placements with another student?

Switches can be made as long as experience variety is still maintained. Students cannot switch to ensure that they receive a string of med-surg clinicals vs. mental health, or remain in settings that care for children without experiencing care for other age groups. For courses with attached labs (NCLIN 302 & NCLIN 306), the labs and clinicals must be switched. Requests to switch clinical sections must be sent to Jenn Rathe ( within a prescribed time period. All other changes are made at the discretion of the course coordinator.

How will I know where to go and what to wear for my first clinical day?

Course and site orientations are arranged during the first week of the quarter during your regular clinical time. Your clinical instructor will meet with your clinical group and discuss details including:

  • clinical hours
  • unit
  • dress code
  • parking
  • specifics to the agency
  • course objectives

Almost all clinical sites have a mandatory student orientation during the first couple of weeks of the quarter.

How large is my clinical group?

Hospital sections generally have a ratio of 8 to 9 students and one instructor. Mental health, outpatient and community settings vary in size from 4:1 to 9:1. A clinical instructor from the School of Nursing will be with you at the site at all times during the first year of the program.

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

Faculty will inform you of the objectives for your clinical experience each quarter. Additionally, you are required to adhere to the standards, policies, and regulations of clinical training sites during their clinical education program. These standards include:

  • participating in site orientation
  • wearing appropriate attire, including nametags
  • conforming to the standards and practices of the site

What if I can't make it to my site orientation?

All clinical site orientations are mandatory. Mastery of the content knowledge provided in your clinical site orientation by the posted deadline is a requirement for meeting your clinical course objectives. Failure to meet this requirement will result in failure of the course and your subsequent inability to begin/continue in your program for one calendar year.

What if I am going to be late or can't make it to clinical?

Follow the policy that you and your clinical instructor have agreed upon during the course orientation to communicate absences due to illness or emergencies. All absences must be communicated with the instructor prior to the assigned clinical shift.

I have a family reunion (wedding/vacation) scheduled during the quarter and my clinical day(s). What should I do?

Please review the clinical placement agreement form you signed as part of your admission to the School of Nursing. Please note that absences due to personal, work, religious reasons are generally not considered.

Will I be able to get assigned to a different clinical agency each quarter?

It depends on the site. All sites require orientation to their site and to their computer systems. Because the orientation and training takes up some of your clinical time and some sites aim to reduce training demands on their staff, some sites ask that students be placed at their institution for at least 2 quarters.

If you are assigned to one of these sites, both your medical-surgical clinical placements will be at the same site. Other sites have no placement restrictions and if you are placed at one of these sites, you may be assigned to a different agency for your second quarter of medical-surgical training.