Clinical Placement Hero

Clinical experience is integral to any nursing curriculum, and at USC, we prioritize hands-on learning because it provides our students with the confidence and skills they need to succeed as family nurse practitioners (FNPs).

Explore the online Master of Science in Nursing’s clinical placement process — how to prepare, where you will practice, who you will learn from during rotations and what skills you will gain by completion.

How Does the Placement Process Work?

Prior to your first clinical rotation, you will meet with a member of the online Master of Science in Nursing’s clinical placement team, who will provide an overview of the placement experience and relevant policies.

Our clinical placement team will work with you to secure placement sites within 100 miles of your location. We screen all sites, with the goal of matching students with settings that provide diverse primary care clinical experiences. While you may request a site, that placement location cannot be guaranteed.

The University of Southern California’s School of Nursing recommends that students stay up to date with their COVID-19 and annual influenza vaccinations. Students may elect to submit declination forms to the Student Health Center to remain compliant for their health; however, please be aware that most placement sites require these vaccinations, and students must show proof of their vaccination status. If you choose to decline these vaccinations, it may impact your ability to secure a placement at a clinical site as an increasing number of facilities are not accepting students who are not fully vaccinated. For more information on USC’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, please visit this COVID-19 Vaccination Program page.


How Much Time Will You Spend at Your Placement Sites?

  • 4 placement rotations to complete
  • 170 clinical hours per placement
  • 680 total placement hours required

Where Will Your Placement Sites Be?

During your clinical experience, you will complete your required hours in a range of outpatient settings, including:

  • Family practices
  • Internal medicine clinics
  • Pediatric offices
  • Urgent care sites
  • Community health clinics

Placements may be secured up to 100 miles from your location. To account for personal preferences in distance and scheduling, you are allowed to submit placement referrals a minimum of one term (16 weeks) in advance. Referrals are subject to program standards and faculty approval.

Placement is not guaranteed, however, you will be supported by a dedicated team that works closely with you to assist in the process of placement acquisition. Please note that the online Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner program maintains high quality standards across all sites and preceptors.

Who Facilitates Your Clinical Experience?

Throughout each clinical placement, you will work with a preceptor who will guide your experience and ensure you are meeting professional and academic milestones. Your preceptor will be an experienced nurse practitioner or physician who works at your placement site.

Your clinical preceptors will:

  • Oversee your care of patients
  • Evaluate the quality of care you give and your level of skill as a provider
  • Talk through patient cases with you to assess proper direction of care

Learn more about becoming a clinical preceptor here.

What Skills Will You Gain From Clinical Placements?

After you complete your clinical rotations, you will have the confidence and capability to:

  • Diagnose and treat acute and chronic health care problems in patients of all ages
  • Encourage health promotion and wellness with patients through preventive care
  • Develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and other health care leaders
  • Refer to specialists appropriately

Watch the video below to learn more.

USC’s Online Master of Science in Nursing’s clinical placement team has secured:

  • 282 total clinical placements
  • In 14 states and the Virgin Islands
  • 700+ affiliated sites
  • 285+ preceptors