Clinical Experiences

There's no teacher like the real world. BSN students enjoy high-quality clinical placements arranged by dedicated staff.

Hands-on, practical experience in real clinical settings is a critical part of the nursing curriculum. The UIC College of Nursing is committed to providing students with excellent practicum experiences at all levels. The college partners with hospitals and a large number of healthcare systems in and around our six campuses to provide students necessary hours, certifications for examinations, and broad experience and exposure to many aspects of the nursing profession.

What students can expect

BSN students are notified of their clinical placement sites via email approximately two months prior to the start of clinical rotation.

BSN students take seven clinical courses throughout their program:

  • NURS 221 – First medical/surgical
  • NURS 321 – Second medical/surgical
  • NURS 331 – Women’s health
  • NURS 341 – Pediatrics
  • NURS 351 – Mental health
  • NURS 361 – Community health
  • NURS 371 – Acute care, working one-on-one with a preceptor

All courses except NURS 371 take place in groups of eight students doing two rotations per semester. For example, a group may take NURS 341: Pediatrics for the semester’s first seven weeks and NURS 331: Women’s health for the last seven weeks, or vice versa.

Generally, each of these courses requires 60 clinical hours. Most students will have two clinicals a week, each lasting six hours—typically 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 3 to 9 p.m. Occasionally your placement may require a single 12-hour day.

For NURS 371, each student works one-on-one with a nurse preceptor in a particular area. Student preferences are solicited but cannot always be accommodated.

A unique rotation: Community health (NURS 361)

This course are unlike the other core clinical courses. Students in this rotation provide care in a variety of non-inpatient, non-hospital settings, coming to learn that health happens outside of the hospital setting where individuals and populations live, learn, work and play.

Students are not assigned to a single clinical site or type of experience. This clinical time is designed to introduce a variety of community and public health nursing roles. Some examples are infection control, school nursing, public health nursing, home health nursing, and occupational health. Students participate in health screenings and other health promotion/education events.

Throughout this rotation, students work in pairs to complete a community assessment, identify a health need within that community, and design and implement an aggregate teaching project at a selected agency or organization. Students play a big role in selecting their own sites for this rotation; in the past, they have completed projects at churches, elementary or high schools, and cultural organizations with which they are already affiliated.

Important details about the community health rotation:

  • Primary clinical days are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with an occasional Thursday.
  • Clinical simulation in the lab takes place on a Fridays during this rotation.
  • Due to the nature of this rotation, students must have a car that is under their control on these days. During some days of this rotation, students follow nurses to patient homes. Uber and taxis are not conducive to following the nurse from home to home throughout the day.In the past, students who did not own a car borrowed a car from a friend; rented a car; or had a friend/family member agree to drive them for the day.

What's expected of students

  • Have access to a car (owned, borrowed, rented; rideshares like Uber and Lyft are acceptable for rotations other than NURS 361)
  • Regularly check e-mail for clinical-related updates.
  • Complete all assigned paperwork and training on time.
  • Behave and communicate professionally.
  • Dress professionally and appropriately for each clinical setting.
  • Adhere to the specific requirements of each clinical site.
  • Adhere to all requirements, deadlines and paperwork obligations.

Special concerns/considerations

You may be eligible for special consideration of placements for the following reasons:

  • Disability
  • Major illness/medical leave
  • Military leave

For questions about BSN clinical placements, contact:

Jon Reyes, Assistant Director for Clinical Placements

845 S. Damen Ave., (MC 802), Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 355-3450