How Do I Find Out What Clinical Experiences a Nursing School Offers?

Clinical nursing experiences are part of every nursing student’s education, so finding clinical experiences is not as difficult as one might imagine. Most universities require a clinical capstone, at the very least, and this is always an advanced nursing course, taken at or near the end of the student’s formal education.

One of the important things that a nursing student will have to do before clinicals begin is to decide the area of specialty in which the student, once graduated, would like most to work. The choices are many, but it is likely that a nursing student will already have a feel for the kind of field in which he or she would like most work. Some of the possibilities are listed below:
• Acute Care Nursing
• Adult Nursing
• Cardiovascular Nursing
• Geriatric Nursing
• Home Health Nursing
• Infectious Disease Nursing
• Neonatal Nursing
• Occupational Health Nursing
• Oncology Nursing
• Parent-Child Nursing
• Perinatal Nursing
• Public Health Nursing
• Psychiatric Nursing
• Rehabilitation Nursing
• School Health Nursing
• Women’s Health Nursing
(, 2013)

Once a specialty area has been decided upon, clinical placements for the student will be related to that branch of nursing. So, for example, should a student choose to go into psychiatric nursing, clinical placements will be arranged for the student that focus on patients with serious mental health problems, most likely in a hospital, although these placements could also be in some community settings. It is also important to know that some clinical training that the nursing student will experience is common to all branches of nursing. An example might be in primary care, perhaps in a doctor’s office, or in a clinic.

Finding the kinds of clinical experiences a nursing school offers

One of the best ways to find the kinds of clinical experiences in nursing school offers is to write to the school to get a course catalog, or access the school’s website, find the nursing school, and then click on the tab that has a listing of required and elective courses for that particular school’s nursing program. Because clinical experiences are crucial to the nurse’s education, there often is detailed information about the kinds of clinical experiences that are offered by that school.

Another source of good information is the practicing RNs in the local community. Since these nurses have already experienced clinical preparation in the nursing schools from which they graduated, they may be able to help narrow a prospective nurse’s focus to find a really good school that has a really strong clinical education program in the area in which the prospective nurse wants to specialize.

In addition to the two ways listed above, another approach might be to contact, either by phone or by looking at individual websites, nursing organizations that might have the kind of information the nursing student is seeking. The following is an abbreviated list of nursing organizations that may be of significant help:

American Nurses Association
American Association of Colleges of Nursing
National Student Nurses Association

State nursing organizations, a list of which can be found at and by scrolling about halfway down the page.


Finding the kinds of clinical experiences a nursing school offers may take a bit of work, but the information is available by following the above steps. The important thing to know is that there have been many nursing students with the same question, and those who are already registered nurses have found the answers that they were seeking, most by following such a plan of action as discussed above.