Clinical Placements for Graduate Students

Clinical placements are experiences that fulfill clinical course objectives and develop practice competencies.


Clinical placements are an important part of your learning experience at Seattle University that help you fulfill clinical course objectives and develop practice competencies. While in "clinical" students build on their knowledge while learning to collaborate effectively with preceptors, clinical teams and patients/clients. Students are expected to come to clinical prepared to engage in patient care using current, evidence-based resources, demonstrate openness to feedback and follow-up on recommendations to improve clinical performance.

Common questions about clinical placements

Get more in depth information about clinical experiences for graduate study.

Advanced Practice Nursing Immersion (APNI) students are required to complete 600 clinical hours in their pre-licensure "immersion" program. During the immersion year clinical placements/hours take place each quarter. 

Doctor of Nursing Practice students who enter the program as an RN and APNI students who have successfully completed their pre-licensure year, are required to complete a minimum of 600 advanced practice clinical hours. This is typically 150 precepted hours per practicum course spread over 4 quarters. An additional 400 hours are required to complete the DNP Project for a total of 1,000 advanced practice clinical hours for the DNP degree.

In the APNI pre-licensure year, clinical placements will often be site-specific and formatted in a cohort model. Clinical hours may also include simulations designed for realistic, clinical practice at the Clinical Performance Lab. Typically, students will complete around 30 hours in the Summer quarter and then increase to about 150 hours in the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. In an effort to provide students with experiences in Gerontology, Pediatrics, OB, Med-Surg Inpatient and Acute Care settings, placements and schedules can vary widely. Site locations might be as far north as Everett and as far South as Tacoma, sites are usually about 40 miles North, South, or East of campus. Students are expected to provide their own transportation and be available in the evenings and on weekends if necessary.

During the years of DNP program when students are practicing with an RN license, clinical placements become active practice and students are matched in a 1:1 setting with an advanced practice preceptor. Students will see patients/clients under observation. The placements are coordinated by your Track Lead Faculty and the Senior Clinical Placement Coordinator. Students may be placed anywhere in the state of Washington within 150 mile radius from the Seattle University campus.

Students who enter the program as an RN and APNI students who have successfully completed their pre-licensure year, complete one year of on-campus doctoral courses before beginning advanced practice clinical placements in their chosen area of study. 

To learn more about when your clinical placements will take place refer to the Program of Study for your track. Clinical placement courses may be referred to as Integration, Clinical Practicum, or Transition courses in the program of study.

The clinical placement experience will vary depending on your area of study and by clinical site, but the structure is relatively similar.

  1. Students complete a survey to provide feedback to the Clinical Placement Coordinators about clinical site preferences, this typically occurs during winter quarter (year one for RNs, year two for APNI students).
  2. Students will receive their clinical placement assignment by the start of the quarter in which the placement will occur.
  3. Before beginning clinical, students must complete onboarding for their clinical site (this varies based on the site's requirements).
  4. Students coordinate their schedule with their individual preceptor.
  5. While students are in clinical placements, they will meet once a week with an assigned clinical faculty in a small group seminar.
  6. Clinical faculty will remain in contact with their student's preceptor and perform a site visit mid-quarter to evaluate the student's progress.

Preceptor are volunteers who serve as a mentor and role model for students. In this role they agree to provide the following: 

  • Teach students and provide them with constructive feedback
  • Meet with students to review and complete their clinical evaluation
  • Communicate regularity with the student and clinical faculty
  • Understand the legal requirements while precepting students

The assigned Clinical Faculty serves as mentor and role model for students, both teaching and assisting them throughout their clinical. Clinical Faculty are required to meet weekly with students in clinical seminars. Faculty should communicate regularly with students and also be responsive and collaborative in identifying and resolving problems that may arise in clinical. In most tracks, the Clinical Faculty will make one site visit per quarter to meet with and observe the student and formally evaluate the student's performance.


Are you interested in working with Seattle University DNP students on a Process or Practice Improvement project at your organization? 

Interested in Graduate Study? Contact Us

Oz Sener, MEd

Senior Graduate Program Admissions Specialist

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