On-Campus Intensives

As a Nursing@USC student, you will be required to attend two on-campus intensives (OCIs) in Los Angeles. OCIs test your classroom education with skill assessment exercises and exams with faculty. Students in the five-term track will attend their first OCI at the end of their first term and the second OCI at the end of their third term. Students in the eight-term track will attend their first OCI at the end of their first term and their second OCI at the end of their fourth term.


Read more about specific OCI sessions and information below.


During your first OCI, you will spend three days in Los Angeles, visiting the University of Southern California (USC) campus and other sites in the city. This long weekend is your chance to meet fellow classmates and USC faculty in person and strengthen your existing professional relationships. In small groups led by USC faculty, you will practice the skills acquired in class and participate in motivational interviewing, open labs, lab sign-offs and a white coat ceremony.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a valuable tool that helps nurse practitioners understand the root causes of a patient’s injury, illness or disease. Led by USC faculty, motivational interview sessions are collaborative and patient-centered. In these sessions, you are broken into small, intimate groups and trained on how to engage and communicate with patients so you can better evaluate their symptoms and provide accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.

Lab Experience

In the first half of the weekend, you will be broken into small peer groups that rotate between several different lab stations. At each station, you and your peers will practice examinations for which you will be evaluated and tested the following day. Lab stations may include examinations for:

  1. Neurological
  2. EENT
  3. Cardio/Pulmonary
  4. Abdominal
  5. Musculoskeletal
  6. Genitourinary

After these faculty-led rotations, you will have free time to practice what was learned and ask questions in preparation for the exam.

The following day, you will complete head-to-toe examinations on “patients.” These examinations are observed and evaluated by faculty. Immediately after completing the exam, you will be informed if you passed.

White Coat Ceremony

If you pass your lab exam, you will participate in a White Coat Ceremony on the last day of the OCI weekend. This hallmark event marks the next chapter in your journey toward becoming a nurse practitioner. Considered a rite of passage, this ceremony represents a major milestone in your nursing career and symbolizes the start of your path in the medical profession. During this symbolic event, you are awarded your USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing white coat. You will proudly wear this white coat at your on-site clinical placement.

The event is a celebration. You are welcome to invite your family and friends so they can applaud your accomplishments and also meet USC faculty, the school’s dean and donors.

The Trojan Family

We value the OCI experience immensely because it is our opportunity to welcome you — in person — into the Trojan Family, which includes all current USC students and our extensive network of alumni in Los Angeles and abroad. The OCI weekend allows you to meet your peers and professors outside the online environment. While the weekend is rigorous and intended to test your knowledge and skills, we encourage you to engage with your fellow classmates and explore USC’s campus and the city of Los Angeles!

Take the Next Step

If you are an RN seeking advancement opportunities, discover how Nursing@USC can prepare you to take the next step in your career.


Additional details about the second OCI experience coming soon.