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Herzing University

Jessica Neddersen

Common MSN Clinical Questions Answered

As you complete your MSN program, an important part of your education includes your clinical experience. You can rest assured; support and resources are here to guide you on your clinical journey!

As you complete a Master of Science (MSN) program, an important part of your education includes your clinical experience. You can rest assured; support and resources are here to guide you on your clinical journey.  However, you will likely have questions before you begin.   

Here are some answers to some of the most important clinical-related questions.

How do clinicals work?

At Herzing University, Students are provided the opportunity to locate their preceptors and clinical sites.  This will have multiple benefits, as discussed below.  

Our clinical coordination team is here to provide support.  You will be assigned a clinical coordinator who will provide advisement and guidance, as you work to secure your site and preceptor.    

During the semester, you will work at your clinical site with your identified preceptor and gain skills in your specialization. Some of the benefits of your clinicals include:

  • Fostering a working relationship between you and your clinical site
  • Networking with other professionals in your field and within your specialization

It is important to note that the University, faculty, preceptor, and student work cooperatively to ensure appropriate learning opportunities during each clinical experience.   You will work directly with your preceptor at a clinical site and in-directly with your faculty for the completion of the clinical requirements.  Open communication will occur throughout each semester with the completion of site visits.   Site visits are primarily via a virtual format but can occur in person if needed.

How long are nursing clinicals?

Clinical hours differ according to your school and program. At Herzing University, clinical requirements for MSN programs are:

While all those hours seem like a lot, they are completed over different courses throughout your education in conjunction with your clinical courses. Clinical hours are accrued over the program, although weekly hours vary by clinical site and clinical course. For many Herzing students, you can expect to spend 10 to 12 hours a week with your preceptor for the duration of the 8 or 16-week clinical course. Students have the opportunity to develop their own clinical schedule in collaboration with their preceptor’s availability.

How do I find a preceptor?

Herzing University has resources available to assist you in securing a preceptor. A preceptor is a nurse practitioner, physician or healthcare provider who oversees your clinical experience and acts as a model. While it is always a good idea to ask from the network of people that you know, you may not have someone you can reach out to be your preceptor. Some tips for finding your preceptor include:

  • Start looking early: Some organizations can take six to 12 months to process preceptor requests. Also, if you are interested in a specific specialization, it is beneficial to get a head start on securing your preceptor.
  • Network: There are numerous resources to help you connect with professionals such as LinkedIn or ENP Network. These can be great starting points to begin your search.
  • Make the most of campus resources: You can reach out to your clinical coordinator for assistance, resources and tips to help you locate your preceptorship. If you are struggling to find someone, your clinical coordinator can help put you in contact with a healthcare provider.

Do students get paid while completing clinicals?

Students do not receive monetary compensation for the completion of their clinical hours. Clinicals are a part of your nursing education and clinical students are not substitutes for facility employees.

What are MSN students allowed to do on clinical placement? 

During the first few days of clinicals, you can expect to do a lot of shadowing while you adapt to your role.

While learning objectives vary depending upon the clinical setting, the specialization and professional experience the goal for MSN students is to:

  • Conducting advanced health assessments of patients from different demographics
  • Make accurate diagnoses of patient conditions
  • Treat various illnesses and instruct about various preventative measures
  • Communicate effectively between supervisors, peers, patients, and staff
  • Develop comprehensive medical care plans for patients

How do I list preceptorship on my resume?

If you have been a preceptor, it should be included on a resume! Most find it easiest to include their preceptorship as a separate position and listed like it would be any other career from date, skills and location. Students and graduates of Herzing University may reach out to their career development coach for guidance.

Do you think that an MSN is right for you? Take our quiz to determine which MSN is best!

Learn More About Our MSN Programs


* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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