Qualities of a Good Externship
Many respondents reported feeling conflicted with the choice between the most educationally rewarding position and a paid position. They expressed concern regarding their ability to survive for a year on savings, loans, and a part-time job. Many questioned the ethics of a system in which it is acceptable for a student to participate in a full-time, unpaid position for as long as 12 months.
University Requirements and Support
Benefits of the Current Externship Process
Autonomy in applying to and accepting a placement is reportedly the biggest benefit (45 percent) of the current process. Other benefits include job interview practice, clinical experience, university support, stipends, and networking opportunities. Twenty percent reported HearCareers was a valuable resource. Fifteen percent reported they liked the variety of positions available and thought the interview process was good practice for future job interviews.
The survey responses reveal several interesting aspects of the student perspective. The number of neutral responses was substantial (11–27 percent) when basic knowledge of the externship, the residency model, and the clinical fellowship year was required. Interestingly, these same questions received a higher percentage of strong rankings. This may be indicative of variable knowledge and expectations of clinical models among students; those who are more informed have stronger feelings, typically leaning in favor of processes with funding and uniformity.
A common theme is the concept of uniformity. This includes preferences for an all-encompassing database, a central application system, identical deadlines for application submissions, and the use of a matching algorithm or universal accept/reject date for final decisions.
Students reported variable responses in the amount of guidance and support they received from their university, as well as with individual expectations and requirements. Reports of the presence of tuition and absence of financial compensation were also variable. Financial hardship during the final year of graduate education was a main point of contention among respondents.
A follow-up survey targeting current externs will investigate the similarities and differences between externship experiences and provide the audiology community with a deeper understanding of how the externship model actually functions.