Question about advancing degree but staying at the bedside...

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    I am a newly graduated nurse with my BSN, and I'm currently 3 months into a full-time RN position in an ICU step-down unit. However, I've been playing with the idea of going back to school for my masters or DNP. I haven't been an RN long, but I know that I'm absolutely in love with bedside care- I enjoy being on 'the front line' and having the connections I get to have with my patients, I love every aspect of being an RN with a full patient load on the floor. Yet at the same time, I know that I want to get an advanced degree and I'm unsure as to what path to take. In short, I'm wondering if anybody would be able to help me figure out what different paths hold in terms of getting a masters or doing a nurse practitioner degree and what they each mean in terms of staying at bedside or being a bit more removed. If it helps, my dream position is in the NICU, or peds in general. Thank you so much for any advice or information!
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    As a NP or DNP, you'll get that "fron-line" exposure you seek, but you'll find that the time you spend with your patients is dramatically decreased. In ICU, I'd have 2 PT's in a 12 hour shift. As a NP, that can be 20 in an "8 hour day" (as if there is such a thing).
  4. 0
    Agree with above: when you call the shots, you take care of many more pts and in a different aspect of care too: not so much at the bedside but you do have more input into their care.
  5. 1
    This is a different perspective... but would you consider being a CRNA? It is bedside care in the OR.
    It's like having a patient 1:1 in a controlled ICU setting requiring broad knowledge and complete understanding of pharm/phatho/intensive nursing. Also you're in the front line as YOU are the most important person to that patient. You have to serve as a leader and patient advocate the entire case to protect the patient's airway and have control of their pain.

    So in the field these are the important things, which I think you may be looking for: bedside care, leadership, advocacy, and knowledge.
    Granted you might not be able to establish the "connection" you have with the patient, but when you know you're the most important person to that patient, that in itself is a "connection"
    Below is an essay regarding CRNA's. Take 10 minutes to read, I think you'll have a better understanding of what I'm trying to say =)

    Good Luck! I hope this helps!

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...Vg1n4g&cad=rja

    RN, BS, CCRN, SRNA starting March 2012 =)
    traumaRUs likes this.
  6. 1
    Another option would be to consider a Clinical Nurse Leader program. That is a MSN where graduates still remain at the bedside --- but with enhanced skills to coordinate the continuum of care, enhance patient outcomes, and integrate the healthcare team to deliver better quality care.
    llg likes this.
  7. 0
    I agree with UVA Grad Nursing. Then CNL sounds like a better fit for your interests than a nurse practition program.
  8. 0
    Stay in nursing for two to three years before deciding on an advanced degree. Many things can happen with this economy and the health bill. You may find out by 6 months you can't stand being with patient who can't communicate because they have tube down their throat.
  9. 0
    I totally agree T2. I support the ability for folks to go from highschool, to college, to grad school and come out new NPs - totally support it!! MD, DO, PA can do it - why can't we/ However - you bring up the best take home point - folks need a couple of years to learn what they like and what they do not exactly enjoy. I spent a years in ICU and ER and I KNEW I was going to be an awesome CRNA, but after a few years, I got burned out in tubes, drips, and staring at a monitor. I missed the interaction with patients I had in the ER. So after alot of years getting groomed for CRNA - I went to FNP. No regrets ever. I find my decisions aren't so life or death, but they are definatelt enourmously broader in scope and sometimes do save lives with a good catch.

    Folks really do benefit from working as a nurse before deciding what specialty to seek out. Once NP money starts rolling in, it's hard to quit and go back for a fellowship in something else. I'm just sayin...


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