What Is a Nurse Intern?


As the nurse intern exits training and enters her first hands-on experience as a nurse, she will be under the supervision of a registered nurse. The intern is expected to work up to the standards set out by the departmental procedures and policies. The intern could be requested to provide care to neonate, pediatric, adolescent, adult and geriatric patients.


  • The intern nurse is responsible for assessing patients when they are admitted. It is vital that the intern document these assessments with precision in the patients' records. He must review the patients' files and determine whether a change of treatment is needed. A main function of the nurse intern is to expedite the process of receiving and discharging patients. Many hospitals are more interested in the immediate benefit of having an extra staff member rather than the prospect of training a future employee.

Other Responsibilities

  • A nurse intern follows orders set out by the physicians in a timely and efficient manner. These orders could include administering medications and treatments in a safe and accurate manner. The intern establishes priorities and decides which patients need attention first. All data attained while performing these functions must be communicated to the doctor in a timely fashion. The nurse intern needs to recognize whether symptoms need to be logged or reported immediately to the doctor.


  • Basic nursing skills are expected of all prospective nurses applying for an intern program. These skills need to come from an accredited nursing school, though graduation from the school is not always necessary prior to being hired as an intern, depending on the organization supplying the internship program. As an example, for some hospital internships only the first semester of the acute care clinical course needs to have been completed. Interns must also typically possess a CPR certificate and pass a tuberculin skin test.


  • The intern could be required to lift as much as 100 pounds occasionally and up to 50 pounds frequently. The job could involve exposure to toxic elements, bio-hazardous materials and chemicals. Protective equipment is often necessary with the job.


  • Working hours for a nurse intern depend on where you are working. For example, at Scott & White Healthcare in Texas, the intern position requires 36 hours of work per week, consisting of three 12-hour shifts, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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