Clinical Placement FAQs

Walsh University is proud to support students in the Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner (BSN to DNP-FNP), Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Educator (BSN to DNP-NE), Online Post-Master’s DNP (MSN to DNP), Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner (BSN to MSN-FNP) and Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Educator (BSN to MSN-NE) programs with comprehensive clinical placement services.

Here for You

At Walsh University, we will work closely with you to ensure a successful clinical placement that will complement your coursework and allow you to demonstrate and evolve the knowledge and skills learned in the online classroom. For many nursing students, finding clinical sites and preceptors can quickly become one of the most challenging aspects of their graduate program, especially as they attempt to do so while juggling full-time work and personal responsibilities as well. We offer full placement support to relieve our students of this burden, so that your focus can remain fully on your studies.

How Placement Works

As an online DNP or MSN student, a Clinical Placement Coordinator will work with you to secure a clinical site and match you with a preceptor for each of your clinical courses. These Coordinators will:

  • Provide a detailed assessment of your professional goals to identify a preceptor and an ideal workplace (e.g. hospitals, community clinics, or private practice) in your area.
  • Work closely with you to identify academic areas of interest and connect you with clinical expertise that is the best fit for your area of study.    
  • Ensure that you are prepared for your practicum by providing a realistic idea of the work that you will be doing.
  • Coach you on how to network and engage within your local clinical community, which encourages a stress-free placement experience and professional preparedness upon graduation.


Frequently Asked Questions About Clinical Placement Services

Do I have to find my own placement?

Walsh University provides clinical placement services to students. Students are encouraged to also network with potential preceptors and work closely with the clinical placement coordinator to secure clinical placements.

When does Walsh start working on a student’s placement?

Walsh University’s clinical placement team is networking with current and potential preceptors year round. We have a network of hospital systems and preceptors who have worked with Walsh FNP students in the past and have an interest in precepting other students.

Students should begin early in the program to start networking with potential preceptors who may be willing to precept a student in upcoming semesters. There is competition for clinical sites and preceptors nationwide, so early planning is essential.

Are there any specifications for preceptors?

Preceptors must be licensed and have national certification to practice in their designated population-focused and/or specialty area. Preceptors must be a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Physician (MD or DO), Physician Assistant (PA), or in certain circumstances a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and have at least one-year of experience in the population-focused area of practice and role.

A preceptor may not be the immediate work supervisor of the student or a member of the student’s family or a personal friend.

Can students precept where they work?

Yes. However, the preceptor cannot be the immediate work supervisor of the student. Students cannot log clinical hours at the same time as their work hours.

How are preceptor referrals submitted, and am I required to submit them?

Referrals are submitted by the students using the Preceptor Request Form. This form should be submitted to the clinical placement coordinator. We encourage students to participate in this process as it usually makes for a better experience for all involved.

How many clinical hours are required?

The number of clinical hours required varies by program:

  • BSN to MSN (Family Nurse Practitioner): 650 hours
  • BSN to MSN (Nurse Educator): 350 hours
  • BSN to DNP (Family Nurse Practitioner): 1,150 hours
  • BSN to DNP (Nurse Educator): 1,000 hours
  • Post-master’s DNP: 500 hours
How do I know which semesters I will be in placements?

Your assigned academic advisor will work with you closely to assist in your progression through the program. Your curriculum plan will indicate that progression and in what semesters you will be in clinical placement.

If you need to make changes in your curriculum plan, you and your academic advisor will work together to determine when you will need clinical placement.

When do I learn the location/details of my preceptors?

You will receive details regarding your preceptor, including the site and location, at least 30 days prior to the commencement of your rotation.

What can I do to ensure a successful placement?

Be flexible, be prepared, and ask questions of your preceptor. If you find you are only “shadowing” after an initial orientation (first 1-2 days) then discuss this with your preceptor and if needed, your clinical instructor for the course. This is your chance to apply all of the skills and knowledge you have gained. If you feel you are not as knowledgeable on a given topic or  health problem, read/review/study and come prepared the next day of clinical. You will be asked to set personal clinical goals and evaluate your progress in meeting these goals by your faculty. Keep these goals in mind while in the clinical area. Think about what you want to accomplish each day and make it happen. Look for experiences; don’t wait until you are asked because the clinical area is fast-paced and you will miss out on experiences if you are not proactive. Learn from the patients you have the opportunity to see during clinical. Many times, our patients are our best teachers.


Have additional questions about clinical placement?

Walsh is proud to support students by providing comprehensive clinical placement support. If you have additional questions, please schedule a convenient time to talk with an admissions advisor using our easy online appointment scheduler.