What is a Student Nurse?

Student nurses practice what they learned in the classroom by participating in clinical rotations that are supervised by a nursing instructor. The scope of practice is limited, and they need approval before administering care to patients.

Job Duties

Student nurses have a variety of day-to-day responsibilities such as:

Obtaining Health Histories – This includes questioning patients to gain a full understanding of their health, potential hereditary issues, and to determine if they have any psychological conditions.

Physical Exams – Once the health history is complete, student nurses perform the patient’s physical exam and note any abnormalities.

Administering Medications – Student nurses should only administer a patient’s medication after researching the proper administration, therapeutic uses, and dosage limits. Once a physician or clinical instructor approves the medication, students prepare the correct dose and administer it to the patient at the appropriate time. In order to ensure they are giving medication to the right patient, they must confirm the patient’s name and compare it to the patient ID.

Nursing Care – Student nurses are also responsible for assisting patients who need help bathing and eating. They also change bedding, apply new bandages, draw blood, start IVs, and take care of catheters.


Student NurseSkills and Specifications

Student nurses should possess the following:

  • Knowledge in nursing procedures
  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to follow instructions
  • Good observation skills


Before students can participate in clinicals, they must pass a criminal background check and a physical examination.

Work Environment

Clinicals stimulate a real nursing experience, therefore, students must wear uniform and report to the clinical site (such as a hospital, clinic, or nursing home) on time. The students on-site supervisor may be their nursing professor or a professor they have never worked with, and they receive a checklist of objectives that they’re required to practice so they can successfully pass this part of their education. It includes practicing safe and effective care, promoting psychosocial integrity, supporting health promotion and maintenance, and promoting psychological integrity.

What Courses are Taken Before Clinicals?

Courses taken prior to clinicals will vary by program and whether or not students earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. They may include:

Microbiology – This course introduces students to the principles of the infectious disease process. Major infectious diseases are covered, including methods used for the identification in the clinical lab.

Adult and Elder Nursing – Designed to give students the knowledge needed to care for adult and elderly patients who have common chronic and acute health conditions.

Health Assessment and Promotion – This course gives students the knowledge to perform culturally competent and comprehensive health histories and physical assessments.

Community Health Nursing – Centers on the theoretical principles and evidence base for safe, high quality nursing practice in diverse communities from a local, national, and global perspective.

Leadership and Management in Nursing – Emphasizes developing clinical decision-making, prioritization and delegation skills, and acting as a member of the healthcare team.

Pediatric Nursing – This course prepares students to care for children from infancy through adolescence. Health promotion, disease prevention strategies, and risk reduction are emphasized.

Professional Nursing – This introductory course focuses on the changes in identity and self understanding that take place as a student moves into a professional nursing role.

Nursing Pharmacotherapeutics – Focuses on a nurse’s role in pharmacotherapeutics and considers economic, sociocultural, and technologic changes in the safe administration of prescription and over-the-counter medications.


Student nurses do not get paid as clinicals are part of their education.

After graduation, students must obtain a registered nurse license before starting their rewarding career. There are many accredited nursing programs found throughout the United States. If you would like to learn which one is right for you, please contact us at Nursing Examiner.

Scroll to Top