For those of you in nursing school, winter or summer intercession can be a great opportunity to get ahead, buff up your resume, or simply brush up on rusty material.  We’re all familiar with the rigorous lifestyle required of nursing school, so break is an ideal time to focus on nursing that is outside of your textbook.  Here are a few suggestions for summer 2014:
  • Study abroad – Whether it’s through your school or an independent organization, there’s lots out there involving international travel with a focus on health care.  For example, my school hosted a trip to Guatemala every winter break with an emphasis on the area’s women and children
  • Apply for a hospital internship – Several hospitals offer summer internships to nursing students who have reached a certain year in their curriculum and meet other requirements
  • Work as a CNA/nurse tech – Look into facilities that are seeking temporary help or are nearby your home or school if you plan on working part time when school picks up again
  • Enroll in summer school – Taking a class over break can lighten your work load during the semester or may even allow the possibility of graduating early
  • Take a CPR class – Get certified with BLS, ACLS, PALS/PEARS if you’re interested in pediatrics, and NRP/STABLE if you’d like to work with neonates
  • Volunteer – While you have a little extra time, put in some community service hours at your local hospital, senior home, blood center, soup kitchen, etc. (e.g. Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity)
  • Begin compiling your professional portfolio – Unless your school has a class specifically for career building, it can be hard to find time for this tedious task.  Start working on your resume, asking for letters of recommendations, and looking into RN residency programs
  • Self-study – Most nursing material is built on concepts from fundamental classes, for example advanced pharmacology is based on what you learned in intro to pharmacology, and so on.  It can be easy to fall behind if you aren’t on top of it, so it’s a good idea to stay sharp over break
Some of these options may be more appealing if you’re in your second or third year of nursing school, as they have your career in mind as you get closer to graduation.  No matter what you do with your break, start thinking about it now, because you may need to meet early application deadlines or reserve your place a few months in advance.  Don’t forget to have some fun too!


Lia is an RN, BSN, PHN who works as a Labor & Delivery RN. She resides in Texas.

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  1. Elizabeth Scala says:

    Another one to add to the list: take a break! Many of us fill in our time off with more ‘stuff’. Yes, that gives us experiences that will help further our career. And another thing we often need is rest.

    Great list, though. I’ve worked during the off-season. I’ve traveled and studied abroad. Volunteering is a good one. I would love to do more of that. On or off season. Thanks for another good post, Elizabeth

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