Frequently Asked Questions

For specialties that allow students to select the location of their clinical placements, students are categorized as either MTA (Greater Middle Tennessee Area) or OMTA (Outside Middle Tennessee Area). If you applied to one of these specialties, you were required to select a category, and your admission to VUSN specified your category. The biggest difference between MTA and OMTA student rotations lies in how your rotations are managed.

MTA students do not contact potential preceptors directly; this policy is at the request of local clinical sites. VUSN faculty and Clinical Placement staff will coordinate that effort.

As an OMTA student, you may have contacts in your geographic network. At times, OMTA students are able to rotate where they work. You will identify preceptors yourself and submit a “request” in the Clinical Placement portal, Exxat, for the process to move .

Both MTA and OMTA students receive significant guidance and resources from faculty with support from the Clinical Placement team, and both will use the Exxat portal to log their clinical experiences.

We understand that on occasion, a student may desire to relocate to a different region of the country for personal or professional reasons. We strongly recommend that students discuss this request with clinical placement faculty and their specialty director before relocating. Students may have difficulty obtaining licensure or could have delays in obtaining a new clinical site in their new state of residence. Delays in completing compliance requirements or processing of contracts could delay clinical start, and ultimately program progression and completion.

If your specialty offers MTA and OMTA clinical placement options, all requests to change your clinical placement location must be discussed with your clinical placement faculty and approved by your specialty director. While Clinical Placement staff and faculty will try to accommodate student preferences, please note that changes in clinical placement location are not guaranteed and depend upon a variety of factors, including but not limited to availability of appropriate clinical sites.

Vanderbilt does not pay preceptors. However, preceptors can receive continuing credits and other courtesy perks—including Vanderbilt adjunct faculty status—for precepting students. We have found that preceptors mentor students because they recall being well guided in their own education, and they want to make a difference in a nursing student’s life. Many of our preceptors have precepted for years.

Once you have matriculated, your faculty will begin conversations with you regarding your geographic region and placement possibilities there. Conversations will continue through the summer between you, your specialty faculty and Clinical Placement team. Collaboration is a crucial part of the Clinical Placement process, and we are committed to partnering with you. Your specialty faculty have resources available to help you in the networking process. Once you have local leads, nothing beats picking up the phone. Often, asking for the site’s Nursing Education department is a good first step. Some facilities handle the assigning of a preceptor for the student.    

No. Very often OMTA students identify preceptors at facilities where we do not yet have a contract. In this case, once the faculty has vetted the site and preceptor and determined it is an adequate placement, the Clinical Placement team will work with the site to get a contract in place. This process can take several months, which is why we recommend you plan ahead.

Your first step is to consult with your specialty faculty and Clinical Placement team member.  Sometimes the agency contact is unaware of an existing agreement.  And if there is no agreement, the Clinical Placement team will work with the agency to get a contact in place.

There are certainly geographic areas in the U.S. that are more saturated with other nursing students or that have fewer facilities. However, keep in mind that you’ll be partnering with your faculty and Clinical Placement team member to brainstorm possibilities. Many students travel to other parts of the country—where, perhaps they have friends or relatives to stay with—to do clinical rotations. We advise you to remain open-minded about all the possibilities and let your faculty know if another geographic region is a possibility. VUSN students are highly regarded around the country, and we work very hard to ensure students are placed. We are in this with you.

If you are considering relocating, we strongly encourage you to first consult with your faculty and identify any factors like state licensure that could possibly cause a delay in the start of your clinical rotation. Your clinical faculty can help guide you on the best options and help you navigate all the different facets of a relocation.

If you are considering relocating, we strongly encourage you to first consult with your faculty and identify any factors like state licensure that could possibly cause a delay in the start of your clinical rotation. Your clinical faculty can help guide you on the best options and help you navigate all the different facets of a relocation.

If you are considering relocating, we strongly encourage you to first consult with your faculty and identify any factors like state licensure that could possibly cause a delay in the start of your clinical rotation. Your clinical faculty can help guide you on the best options and help you navigate all the different facets of a relocation.

At New Student Orientation each year, you will be introduced to your Clinical Placement team member and given an overview of the process, including the Exxat portal. You will come to work with this Clinical Placement coordinator very closely. For our part time students, a refresher to the Exxat system will be provided during your clinical course orientation.

If you are an OMTA student, we can provide guidance on which areas may be easier or more difficult to find sites, based on past experience. To assist in search efforts, the Clinical Placement office can research your geographic area of interest and share information on agencies and practices where VUSN either has an existing relationship or where a previous student has precepted. In addition, our Clinical Placement office coordinates with the VUSN Alumni Relations office to share information on alumni in the area who might be able to assist.