How To Maintain Great Relationships With Externship Sites

Externships are one of the most critical parts of the learning process. They give students the practical, hands-on experience they need to succeed post graduation. Many students even go on to start their careers at the site of their externship. Therefore, maintaining great relationships with externship sites is essential. 


However, the back and forth communication between school admins and the externship staff to verify student attendance can be frustrating and time consuming. A damaged relationship could jeopardize your students’ learning and placement, as well as the future of your partnership with the site.

Quit playing phone tag to verify hours

Because many schools choose to track externship attendance on paper time-sheets, it falls onto school admins to verify that student hours are accurate. This is extremely important, both to ensure students are completing their required hands-on learning and to verify the accuracy of the data reported to accreditors. This process is extremely time consuming for both schools and externship sites. Continuous phone calls and emails to verify student hours can quickly become frustrating for school staff and irritating for site preceptors. Good relationships come down to good communication. If communication becomes tense, it can be detrimental to the relationship. However, if you can make communication easy or even eliminate most of it altogether, site staff can focus on helping students develop skills instead of being bogged down by administrative tasks.

Real-time visibility into attendance

woman in scrubs checking in to externship site on her phone

CourseKey’s patented GPS attendance technology lets students check themselves in and out of their shifts on a mobile app. Immediately after students check in, attendance data automatically populates real-time attendance dashboards where clinical and externship coordinators can confirm if students have shown up to their sites without having to call the site preceptors. Eliminating paper attendance tracking will make it easier to manage student hours and alleviate the pressure on everyone involved. 


With a streamlined externship management process, admins can easily manage multiple sites and see their student attendance in their CourseKey dashboard in real-time. School staff know immediately if and when a student showed up to their externship, significantly reducing the number of questions the school needs to ask site preceptors. In turn, site preceptors no longer need to spend time going back through paper records, sometimes weeks later, to verify whether a student was there.

Getting your students career ready for successful placement

Attendance automation puts students in charge of their own success. Because gaming the system isn’t possible and time is tracked down to the second, students learn how to hold themselves accountable, which is a huge part of becoming career-ready. These skills are critical for a student’s professional development, and will demonstrate to their training site that hiring that student full-time is a good investment. Over time the externship sites will begin to associate your school with high-quality, professional students. Between 30-40% of students are hired by their externship site. Higher rates of placement ultimately benefits your school.

Stand out above local competitors

With students using GPS technology to clock in and out, site staff do not need to worry about student attendance data at all. They can feel confident that students’ time is being accurately tracked and they can begin working with the students immediately. At the end of the day, administrative work is probably not the reason your site preceptor is in their chosen career. If they don’t have to deal with administrative headaches due to delayed, paper-based attendance tracking, they can focus on skill development and your school is going to leave a great impression. Chances are, other schools in your area are competing for the same externship sites and placement opportunities. If your school eliminates administrative burdens for site staff, you will stick out above your competition and achieve a successful, long-term relationship.

Modernize your attendance process today

CourseKey’s attendance solution helps your school maintain good relationships with externship sites by eliminating unnecessary back and forth communication, helping students become career ready, and alleviating the administrative burden for all parties. CourseKey leaves no room for academic dishonesty, and provides both students and staff total visibility into their externship progress. Request a demo to learn more below.

Request A Demo

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave A Comment