Clinical Placements

The Clinical Placement Office and our nursing faculty have developed a summary of information related to the clinical experiences and precepted placements. We hope this information provides clarity on the placement process and the expectations related to the precepted clinical experience.

For Prelicensure Students

BSN and Pre-licensure Graduate Entry

What types of clinical experiences will I have as a prelicensure student?

Prelicensure students are required to take several clinical courses in order to progress in their program. Both BSN and graduate entry students must complete the following clinical experiences: Adults and Older Adults (2 semesters), Children and their Families, Women and Infants during Reproductive Transitions, Community Health, and Psychiatric and Mental Health. Students are placed in a clinical group of typically eight students at an assigned site. A College of Nursing clinical instructor will also be on the site to supervise and instruct students.

How are students assigned to a particular clinical group? Can a student pick their clinical assignment?

For most clinical courses, students are required to complete six to 12 hours per week on their assigned clinical site. Students will schedule a course with a clinical section in Buckeyelink and this will determine their group placement. In general, students will not have the option to select a particular clinical site. Depending on the clinical course, students may or may not have the ability to select their clinical schedule. Course faculty determine student placement assignments and students should contact the relevant course head faculty with any questions.

How and when are students assigned to a precepted placement?

About one to three months prior to starting a precepted clinical experience in the senior year, BSN traditional students will be required to complete an online survey. This survey provides students with the opportunity to express their clinical placement preferences (nursing unit, hospital, shift, etc.). Student preferences are taken into consideration, but ultimately students are assigned to a placement based on preceptor availability and their learning needs as determined by their faculty. Additionally, students may not complete a clinical experience on a unit where they currently work. Graduate Entry students in the last semester of prelicensure courses may have a precepted or an immersive clinical experience based on course head assignments for that semester. The course head will announce if this option is available for that semester.

I have identified a preceptor/clinical unit for my clinical experience. What should I do?

Students are not permitted to secure their own preceptor. Many clinical agencies have placement processes in place, and they will not accept placement requests directly from students. The Clinical Placement office works closely with nurse managers and agency administrators to ensure students receive placements with qualified preceptors on a unit that can accommodate the required educational experience. If a student has a suggestion for a preceptor, they should discuss this with the head of that course. Students should not reach out to clinical agencies without prior approval. Additionally, students may not complete a clinical experience on a unit where they currently work.

When will I know my clinical assignment?

For most group placements, students will be able to select a clinical day that works best with their schedule. Faculty will inform students where they will be rotating usually at least a week prior to the start of the semester. For precepted placements, the Clinical Placement Office emails students their preceptor’s name, email address and clinical site/unit around the start of the semester. We strive to provide as much advanced notice as possible, but we often do not receive placement confirmations until right before the term begins.

How do I balance my other courses and obligations with my clinical coursework?

Clinical placements are in high demand and clinical schedule options are limited. We advise students to make their clinical courses a priority, particularly for precepted experiences. When scheduling for the semester, keep in your mind your precepting schedule could fluctuate. Contact your academic advisor (BSN) or faculty advisor (Graduate Entry) for assistance when scheduling. We encourage working students to discuss their scheduling needs with their managers/employers to see if they can provide additional flexibility. Please note that there are few opportunities to complete clinical experiences on nights and weekends. Students will complete the majority of their clinical experiences during university business hours.

Where will I complete my clinical experiences?

The College of Nursing has the privilege to have partnerships with several world-renowned hospital systems and clinical agencies including The Ohio State University’s own Wexner Medical Center. All prelicensure placements are located in central Ohio. Some clinical sites are located off-campus so access to a vehicle is highly recommended.

Are students required to be clinically compliant to complete an experience at their assigned clinical site?

Yes, students must be fully compliant prior to clinical experiences and must remain so through the duration of the clinical experience. The College of Nursing tracks student clinical compliance using The Beacon. Students found to be non-compliant cannot attend clinicals, and they may not have the opportunity to make up these hours thus delaying progression. Some clinical sites will require additional onboarding requirements including online and in-person training. The Clinical Placement Office and/or course faculty will ensure students complete any necessary onboarding requirements.

For Master’s Students

How does the clinical placement process work?

Clinical placement assignments result from a collaboration between the Clinical Placement Office and faculty. Students are surveyed about their placement preferences in October before the start of their clinical year. Student preferences are taken into consideration, but there are many other factors that go into final placement decisions, including preceptor availability and educational objectives. The Clinical Placement Office has partnerships with over 1,000 agencies and staff work year-round to secure placements for students. Clinical Placement staff meet with faculty weekly or biweekly to assign students to sites as placements become available. Most students will be assigned to a site about a month prior to the semester start. At this time, the Clinical Placement Office will email the student their site location and preceptor contact information.

How can students help with the clinical placement process?

We appreciate our students’ efforts in expanding our preceptor network. However, it is critical that students obtain permission from faculty and/or the Clinical Placement Office before reaching out to a potential preceptor or clinical site because the site may not provide the appropriate experience or we may already have a relationship in place. In addition, many larger health systems have a clinical placement process in place and may only accept placement requests from the designated Clinical Placement Coordinator. Additional inquiries from students may be seen as circumventing the process.

I found a new clinical site and a preceptor that is willing to work with me. What do I do next?

First, the site/preceptor must be approved by your faculty. Once approved, please email the Clinical Placement Office and provide a contact name and email address so we can get an Educational Affiliation Agreement in place. It is generally easier to get an agreement in place with a smaller practice. Please allow at least 3-6 months to get a contract in placement with a larger healthcare system. Faculty will make the determination for the final placement decision.

My family member is a nurse practitioner. Can I decide to work with them for my clinical coursework?

No, students may not work with family members during their clinical year. Preceptors evaluate student performance and a relative may not be able to evaluate you objectively. However, you should ask your family member if they have a colleague that would be willing to work with you or if they would be willing to work with one of your classmates.

I know an advanced practice provider who works at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. Can they be my preceptor?

Students are encouraged to network with potential preceptors at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center with whom they have a personal or professional connection. However, before the experience can be confirmed, faculty approval is required. When contacting any OSUWMC preceptor lead, please express your gratitude for their support and mention that you will put their name forward for faculty approval. Additionally, inform them that Clinical Placement will reach out to confirm the placement approximately 1-3 months before the start date of the clinical rotation.

I'm an online student and I live outside of Ohio. Am I responsible for finding my own placement?

Out-of-state students must develop a list of leads for faculty’s approval. Once approved, students should send their list to the appropriate Clinical Placement team member as directed by their faculty. The list should include contact names and email addresses so the clinical placement team can initiate the contract process as quickly as possible. Clinical placements for out-of-state students result from the collaboration between students, faculty and the Clinical Placement Office. While we make every attempt to locate a clinical placement in the student’s geographical region, students may need to travel to Ohio to obtain required clinical hours.

I received an email to apply to a clinical site, but I know I don't want to complete an experience here. What should I do?

Many clinical sites require students to apply by a specific deadline in order to be considered for a placement. The Clinical Placement Office works with faculty to identify students to apply for these opportunities. If you are asked to apply to a particular site then you must proceed with the application in order to receive priority placement. In most cases, students who do not apply as directed will not receive an alternative placement.

I have a family/full-time job/other personal commitment. Can I receive my clinical placement earlier than one month before the semester starts?

Unfortunately, we cannot take personal factors into account when making placement decisions. Many students have families, jobs and other obligations so it is unfair to give a particular student special consideration. The Clinical Placement Office estimates that nearly 90 percent of students are placed a month before the semester starts so we have made a commitment to notify students on this timeline. Some students will know earlier and a few students will know later. Many clinical sites approve placement requests on a strict timeline that we must follow so advanced notice is often not an option.

Will I have to travel to a clinical site?

Most students will have to travel at some point during their clinical year. There is no limit to the distance students may have to travel to meet their clinical learning objectives. The faculty considers placements based on the quality of the educational experience, and site location is often not a determining factor. Only students who have registered with Ohio State’s Office of Disability Services may be given special accommodations regarding travel.

I'm unhappy about my assigned clinical placement. Can I request a different placement?

Placement decisions are final. The Clinical Placement Office does not have the capacity to find a second placement for a student. Faculty work hard to ensure that all students are matched to a site/preceptor that best meets their educational needs. Student preferences are taken into consideration, but we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned to your ideal placement. Often students who are initially disappointed with their placement end up having an excellent experience.

I have a question about the clinical placement process? Who should I contact?

Current students who have not yet started their clinical year should contact their Specialty Program Director. Current students currently registered for a clinical course should contact their faculty first, and then, if directed to do so, they should contact the Clinical Placement Office by emailing It is important that students copy their faculty on any email to the Clinical Placement Office. The Clinical Placement team must limit responses to student inquiries so they can focus on recruiting efforts.