Clinical Placement

The Clinical Placement Office works collaboratively with faculty, program directors, and students to ensure all students have a productive clinical experience. Clinical sites and preceptors are chosen for their ability to provide students with clinical experiences consistent with course and certification requirements and the mission of the school. Due to regulatory requirements or a lack of available and appropriate preceptors, VUSN may not be able to accommodate clinical placements in all areas of the country. Please discuss your preferences with your specialty faculty to be sure you understand all possible options.

PreSpecialty (BA/BS in non-nursing field) Year Rotations

Students during their PreSpecialty year will be placed in group clinical experiences. These group experiences may be in a hospital or community setting in the Greater Middle Tennessee area (MTA).

Placements within the Greater Middle Tennessee Area (MTA) – ASN entry and Specialty Year

For students admitted as MTA (Greater Middle Tennessee Area) students, the Clinical Placement Office works with the specialty faculty to secure clinical sites. Clinical sites located within a 150-mile radius from the School of Nursing are considered to be within this area. As a result, students may have rotations in Kentucky, Alabama, and east or west Tennessee, depending on the appropriateness of the site. Faculty take into consideration a number of factors in assigning students to sites, including home address, specialty needs, and clinical interests.

Given the large number of health profession students in the area and the competition for sites, agencies and providers have asked that all Greater Middle Tennessee area VUSN placements be coordinated by a school representative. Students are not to reach out to local sites to arrange their own placements. If you identify a possible local placement, please contact your specialty director or course coordinator first; they will work with the Clinical Placement office staff to see if a placement is possible.

Placements outside the Greater Middle Tennessee Area (OMTA) – ASN entry and Specialty Year

For students admitted as OMTA (outside the Greater Middle Tennessee Area), students, faculty, and the Clinical Placement staff work collaboratively to locate OMTA sites. Students are encouraged to develop a list of possible sites, as they often have a better knowledge of the area and can use personal networks and connections to identify a potential rotation.

The Clinical Placement office will research the area and share information on agencies and practices where VUSN either has an existing relationship or where a previous student has precepted. The Clinical Placement office also coordinates with the Alumni Relations office to share information on alumni in the area who might be able to assist. Once the student has secured agreement from a preceptor for a rotation, the student must submit information through the Clinical Placement system. This enables the faculty to vet the preceptor and ensure the experience is appropriate and will meet both the specialty requirements and the student’s educational needs.

Once the faculty has vetted the preceptor, the Clinical Placement office is responsible for ensuring all appropriate agreements are in place and all agency requirements met before a student may begin their rotation. Vanderbilt requires an agreement with all sites where a student will obtain experience. This includes the practice site as well as any ancillary sites, such as hospitals, surgery centers, and nursing homes. A student may not go with the preceptor to a site where the school does not have an active affiliation agreement. Even when Vanderbilt has an agreement with the site, the Clinical Placement office is required to confirm it is still valid.

Students are strongly encouraged to plan ahead. Given the competition for clinical placements in some parts of the country, securing a preceptor and negotiating and finalizing the necessary agreements can take several months, and in some cases up to a year. In rare cases, Vanderbilt is unable to come to an agreement with an agency, or a particular area may not have an appropriate site or preceptor available; the Clinical Placement staff communicates on a regular basis with the faculty to allow sufficient time for a student to secure another placement, if necessary.

Faculty must approve any additional sites for the student’s clinical experience to ensure that the sites are necessary or appropriate to the student’s clinical objectives. The number of sites and contracts will be limited per student. Due to the large number of placements each term, requests for rotations for a minimal number of hours (typically less than 80) must be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis by the faculty before an agreement is initiated.

Clinical Requirements – MTA and OMTA

For clinicals at the specialty level, an active and unencumbered RN license, valid for the state in which the student is doing the rotation, is required. Depending on the clinical placement location, students may be required to obtain additional state licenses. Due to regulatory requirements or a lack of available preceptors, VUSN cannot accommodate clinical placements in all areas of the country.

All requirements for enrollment must be completed and on file at the time of enrollment and must be kept current throughout the student’s clinical practica. Clinical preceptors and/or agencies may require a drug screening, fingerprinting, additional criminal background checks, or other requirements specific to that site. Costs associated with these processes are the responsibility of the student. The Clinical Placement office will notify students of any additional requirements associated with their rotation.

Students may not begin their clinical rotations until they have met all the site requirements and have received confirmation from their faculty and the Clinical Placement office that they are cleared to start.

Transportation and Lodging

Students are responsible for their lodging and transportation to and from all clinical facilities and field trips. Practice sites are chosen for their ability to provide experiences consistent with the program requirements, the mission of the school, and individual student objectives. MSN and PMC students admitted for MTA clinical placement should be prepared to travel up to 150 miles from the School of Nursing.


Due to State Board of Nursing or State Higher Education requirements, clinical placements may not be available in every location. We make every reasonable effort to accommodate a student’s placement requests.

·         Out of State Requirements and Additional State Information