Getting the Most Out of Your Clinical Externship


In order to provide you with some real-world experience in your field of choice before entering the job market, most of our allied health programs at Arizona College require an off-campus externship as part of your training. As you begin your externship, keep these tips in mind to help you get the most out of your experience.

  • Be professional and dress the part. Look your best and make sure you dress appropriately for the setting you are in. Be productive, punctual, and learn everything you can during the process. And most important, be enthusiastic. The “soft skills” are very important to employers – many of them believe they can teach you any additional technical knowledge you may need and therefore make hiring decisions based on these professionalism issues.
  • Take notes. It’s a good idea to keep a journal and record your experience and any medical firsts for you. Note what you learn, your level of proficiency in any procedures or exams, areas you are excelling in or need work, etc.
  • Be a part of the team. Getting to know everyone, what they do, and how your role supports theirs will make you a valuable part of the team.
  • Resist the urge to check personal email, make personal calls, send texts, or engage in activities that don’t involve your externship if you ever find that you have a little downtime. Your superiors may interpret these actions as indifference or boredom. We hear about these “pet peeves” from our externship partners frequently, and they can be the difference in getting a job or not.
  • Ask questions! Be careful not to monopolize your supervisor’s time, but strive to get all of your questions answered. You can also ask them for regular verbal evaluations of your progress – this feedback is invaluable to your career development.

Information in this blog post is accurate as of October 18, 2012.