The Growing Issue of Finding Clinical Placements AJN Off the Charts


While weighing the decision to become an NP, I thought about the time and money it would take to get into and through the program. I was very interested in the subject of psychiatry and thought it was a good fit for my personality and skill set. I found a program that worked for my schedule and budget and was able to complete the program. I’ve now been in practice for two years. What I didn’t have to worry about when I weighed the pros and cons of becoming an NP was where I would do my practicum or clinical rotations. That’s because the school I attended arranged those for me. However, many NP students are not as fortunate.

The growing difficulty of finding a placement.

Like many colleagues, I have been contacted by students on multiple occasions who are trying to arrange their own clinical placement. There are also numerous posts on message boards and social media from students pleading for someone to take them on at their clinical site. Students have reported having to sit out multiple semesters or not being able to graduate because their schools have left them with the responsibility of securing these arrangements on their own. Others report driving several hours to attend sites far from home or even moving temporarily to get to a practicum site.

One would expect that, when paying thousands of dollars in tuition, the school collecting this money would include the responsibility of finding a clinical site as part of the service they provide. However, some students have reported paying hundreds or thousands of dollars either directly to the clinical site or to an agency that locates sites for students.

This month’s AJN Reports examines this issue and discusses how stakeholders are trying to resolve it. Are you a student or former student with a similar experience? Or do you work at a clinical site or school and have ideas on how this should be approached? Please comment below.

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Christine Moffa, PhD, RN, is the senior clinical editor at the American Journal of Nursing (AJN).

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