Clinical Placement Frequently Asked Questions
Where are clinical sites located?
Clinical sites are located throughout San Diego County and the southern regions of Orange and Riverside Counties. Sites vary and include hospitals and medical centers, primary care clinics and offices, child care centers, skilled nursing facilities and hospice settings. Clinical sites must be within a 60 mile radius of USD. Travel time can vary depending on many factors and can range from 15 minutes to 1-1/2 hours. You must have transportation available on the days of your clinical practicum and you are encouraged to carpool whenever possible.
When will I be expected to be at a clinical site?
The clinical component of your program experience requires a flexible schedule. The clinical placement coordinators assign students at clinical sites on days that do not conflict with the student’s classroom course schedule.
Who are our preceptors?
Preceptors may be nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, executive nurse leaders, and/or physicians who are approved by your faculty and/or clinical placement coordinator. Preceptors must meet the educational and experiential requirements identified for the program. Many have previously served as preceptors for USD nursing students or had appointments at nearby universities. It is important to respect preceptors at all times. They volunteer their time and make an invaluable contribution to your clinical education. A demonstration of appreciation after your clinical experience is a gracious gesture.
How are clinical placements made?
Clinical placements are determined jointly by the clinical placement coordinator and faculty based on the clinical course objectives. In certain programs, students are expected to be involved in the identification and selection of preceptors. Please refer to your program student handbook about other important details involved in this process.
What will be required of me while I am on site?
You will work with program faculty to determine the objectives for your clinical experience each semester. You also must be compliant with the school and agency health requirements as well as adhere to the standards, policies, and regulations of the clinical sites during your clinical experience. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. This means wearing professional attire including your clinical identification badge (see your program handbook for additional dress code information), being punctual, and maintaining ongoing communication with your preceptor and faculty to ensure all components of patient care are optimal.
How do I explore the possibility of setting up a new site?
Students may recommend potential preceptors to the clinical placement coordinator who have not served as a preceptor in the past. Students are discouraged from making random, spontaneous call to agencies.
What if I would like to arrange an out-of-area clinical experience?
Clinical sites must be within a 60 mile radius of USD.
What do I do if I am experiencing difficulty with my placement?
Each student is supervised by an experienced nursing faculty member who serves as the student’s mentor and advocate. If a student has a concern about his/her placement, the student should directly contact the faculty member as soon as possible. In many instances, the student may be able to resolve the concern by communicating with her/her preceptor too.