Congrats on starting your FNP degree at Chamberlain in July 2016!
I do feel that I learned enough between course work, the immersion weekend, and the clinicals to feel confident as a new FNP. The discussion boards in the FNP track prepares you like you are the nurse practitioner taking care of patients.
For example the first discussion board that opens on Sunday presents a patient (name, age, and other pertinent information) who comes into your clinic with a complaint/problem (history of present illness), current medications, past medical history, social history, and family history and you need to create a list of differential diagnoses (at least 3), list of questions you would ask, and possible assessments and lab work you would complete for that patient using scholarly sources.
Then the second discussion board opens on Wednesday and presents assessment findings, pertinent laboratory findings, and anything else your patient has explained to you and asks you to create a SOAP note (S: subjective, O: objective, A: Assessment, P: plan). You would then narrow down your list of differential diagnoses or create new diagnoses based on the information you obtained. You would also complete your SOAP note by adding any additional lab work you may order, prescriptions, education, referrals/consultations, and follow up plan again using scholarly sources.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it really does prepare you for being a nurse practitioner and when you go to clinical it really helps you be prepared and you learn so much from clinical.
The last class at Chamberlain is a Capstone class in which there are no more SOAP notes (yay!) but instead you complete a review course with videos and hundreds of practice questions provided by Amelie Hollier. Amelie Hollier’s claim is if you take her review course and study you will have a 98% pass rate on your first attempt. It really prepares you for taking the certification examination. Also Chamberlain provides an e-book (free) nurse practitioner certification examination and practice preparation by Margaret Fitzgerald fourth edition to review in addition to Amelie Hollier’s review course. My last day of class was December 20th and I took the AANP certification examination January 20th and passed on my first attempt. I honestly thought that the AANP exam was easy but that was related to how much I studied both Amelie Hollier’s and Margaret Fitzgerald’s information over the four weeks.
Recommendation: If you have preceptors and clinical sites already planned that will save you stress and time in the long run especially if you know the people and are comfortable with them. Just a heads up that wherever you go for clinical Chamberlain has to have a contract agreement in place with that practice or hospital.
My advice is: Chamberlain’s FNP track is tough and can be overwhelming at times especially trying to juggle clinical, work, and your life, but it is doable and worth it. It is all about finding the balance and having very supportive family, friends, and coworkers.