Find Your Program
Or browse by
Browse our programs
Nursing Student Know-How: Components of a Nursing Practicum
A practicum placement is an important and rewarding experience for RNs earning nursing degrees. When you arrive at that pivotal moment, you’ll get the chance to work with professionals in the field, using what you’ve learned to make a difference in your community.
But how do you get there? If you’re planning to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), this may be your first practicum experience. There are several steps to arranging and engaging in a practicum. Here are some of the components you should know about as you anticipate your practicum placement.
Your nursing practicum typically comes toward the end of your nursing program. To give you an example, in Walden University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program, you must submit your practicum application by the first day of the quarter prior to the quarter you wish to begin your practicum. That’s about six weeks prior to the term.
Get off on the right foot by familiarizing yourself with your nursing school’s practicum schedule. Since applying for a practicum placement can take longer than anticipated, consider starting early so you’re not racing to meet a deadline.
When it’s time to put your coursework into practice, it’s time to identify your preceptor and practicum site. As you start your search, think of your preceptor as an advisor and coach. Who is doing the kind of work you aspire to do?
Before submitting your practicum application to your nursing program, you’ll need confirmation that your preceptor and site are able to host you. You’ll also want to make sure they meet your university’s requirements. In Walden University’s online BSN degree program, you can receive feedback—before you submit your application—on whether the preceptor you’ve selected meets needed criteria.
Walden BSN candidates have access to the university’s Practicum Advantage™, which provides coaching, resources, and self-help tools to help you identify and secure a local practicum placement site and nursing preceptor. Practicum Advantage™ is also available to students pursuing MSNs or Post-Master’s Certificates in Nursing or earning Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.
Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned in your coursework into practice. Practicum experiences vary by nursing program and nursing degree, but here’s one example:
Walden’s BSN degree program includes two courses, each of which requires 72 practicum hours. One of those courses is Role of the Nurse Leader in Population Health. In it, you’ll work with a preceptor and other community professionals to identify a population-based health problem. Then, you’ll develop an evidence-based intervention and present it to your preceptor.
Graduating with a BSN degree means you’ve satisfied the requirements of the practicum component of your nursing program. But to get there, you can set yourself up for success by following these recommendations from Walden’s Undergraduate Nursing Practicum Manual:
- Develop a plan to meet course objectives and outcomes for the practicum.
- Arrive on time and be prepared for each practicum activity.
- Seek—and be receptive to—regular feedback from your faculty member and preceptor on progress in practicums.
- Be an adaptable and flexible learner.
You can find practicum information for other nursing degree programs in Walden’s College of Nursing student resource guides.
The Online Nursing School Advantage
As an RN with a busy nursing career, you may find earning a nursing degree online is the perfect way to achieve your education and career goals.
Walden, No. 1 in Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduates in the U.S.,1 offers an online MSN degree program that lets you tailor your studies to your career interests. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the MSN nursing program offers your choice of specialty practice or nurse practitioner specializations.
Prepare to become an educator, or pursue leadership in nursing, by choosing Nursing Education, Nurse Executive, Nursing Informatics, or Public Health Nursing.
Or, select one of five nurse practitioner specializations to prepare for a direct care nursing career: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) Primary Care, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
When you’re ready to take your education and training higher, you have a choice of doctoral programs: a PhD in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the nursing career you’ve always envisioned. Enroll in a nursing degree program that can help you realize your dreams.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with multiple specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Master’s degrees (Award level 7). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), post-graduate APRN certificate program, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org).
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.
Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.