Clinical Placement

Clinical Placement Frequently Asked Questions:

Q:  I work for VUMC; do I need to complete additional safety training, background checks and immunization records?

A: Yes. The school is part of the Tennessee Clinical Placement System (TCPS) and the safety training is standardized for State-wide clinical sites. Our clinical requirements for the School differ from the requirements at the Medical Center, because we have clinical affiliation agreements with a wide variety of clinical sites throughout the United States. We must meet the requirements stipulated in these contractual agreements. Your immunizations and criminal background checks are the property of the Medical Center. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996 (HIPAA) does not allow Occupational Health or Human Resources to share your personal information.

Q: I just had a criminal background check completed recently, do I have to get another?

A: Yes. All criminal background checks are not alike. The background check we administer is tailored for students, with specified levels of searches and may differ from your last check.  Also, our clinical contract agreements stipulate that the background check be as current as possible for the actual clinical experience. Therefore, we cannot accept other background checks done by other institutions. An effort has been made to keep the cost to a minimum.

Q:  Is there a certain kind of CPR course I need?  Where can I go to get certified?

A: In the Nashville area the school recommends the American Heart Association’s Healthcare Provider course. This is the certification most of our contracted clinical sites require. Check with your program specialty to see if your specialty requires further certification. You can usually sign up for the AHA certification at most hospitals; check with your nearest hospital for classes. You may click here to see the listing of certification courses.

Q: I found a preceptor.  How do I arrange this and get information to them?

A: Distance students are the only students that need to find their own preceptors. Local students will be assigned a preceptor by their specialty faculty. Once a distance student has found a preceptor that has agreed to take them as a student, your faculty will need to approve that the site meets your clinical objectives and required hours. The faculty will complete a Preceptor Information Sheet and submit it to the Clinical Placement Department for contract processing. See Clinical Placement Process for further information.

Q: How many clinical hours do I need each semester?

A: Each specialty program has different course required hours and objectives. Please check with your program specialty faculty to find out your specific needs.

Q:  How far should I expect to drive to get to my clinical site?

A: Some of our best preceptors and clinical sites are rural experiences. Students need to make plans to drive for up to two hours from Nashville each way for some of these experiences.

Q:  I am a distance student and I do not know how to begin looking for a preceptor in my area?

A:  You can contact your program specialty faculty for guidance. The clinical placement department can also give you a list of existing preceptors in your area that previous students have used. We also have information on tips for finding preceptors that we will be happy to share with you (see Tips for Finding Preceptors).

Q: I am not going to be taking a clinical course for some time or I don’t have any learning experiences in a hospital setting.  Why do I need to complete these requirements now?

A:  These requirements are mandatory for enrollment. Students have found that it is best to complete the requirements and not have the worry of completing them later when your course load becomes more demanding. As a VUSN student the requirements need to be completed for any clinical or learning setting.