BSN-DNP, no experience

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    I am currently a BSN student, graduating in May. I want to be an ACNP, thus I applied to the University of Arizona's BSN-DNP ACNP Program. I just received notification that I was accepted. Since, I have told others in the field and have had mixed feedback about my decision. Many say I should have at least 2 years’ experience prior to starting a program. Here are some details, and my plan.

    ACNP Program - 4 year program; work as much as possible during coursework, before clinicals begin (practice inquiry/clinicals begin in second year spring semester)

    My history: I will graduate my BSN with 1080 clinical hours, 540 are senior residency hours. I did a 12 week summer internship in a Level 2 Trauma Center Emergency Department. I have worked as a CNA for 3 years. Lastly, I have applied to a New RN Residency Program with preference to an Emergency Department/ ICU setting.

    I am young, 22, in a serious relationship (5+ years), have no kids, and a very strong support system. I am a motivated, dedicated student and am self-driven. ((The reason I want to go straight through is because I want to have a stable career before starting a family, I want to be 110% focused on school before distractions -such as kids-))

    To cut to the chase I want honest input from individuals on my decision to go straight through from BSN-DNP. I know it will be difficult, but I am prepared. Please be honest on your experience, good or bad. Also, any resources you are aware of is greatly appreciated!!
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  4. 23 Comments so far...

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    I have been a nurse for 3 years and currently work in a Level 1 trauma center. I was just accepted to the PMHNP program at UofA. Congratulations to you for getting in, it's a big deal and really exciting! Maybe we'll run into each other at the week long training this summer.

    The biggest reason why people say that you shouldn't go into a DNP program, or any NP program, without experience is that the NP programs are set up to teach you as if you are already an experienced RN. There aren't as many clinical hours and the classes aren't all clinical related because they expect you to have a strong clinical base to draw from. This is not the case with PA or MD programs because they know that people coming in are completely green so they accommodate that.

    You obviously know it will be hard, and seem to have really thought this out. You will get push back for not have a couple years under your belt before going in however, regardless of what anyone says the choice is ultimately yours. It is your career and if you want it badly enough then you will learn and work hard enough to compensate for the lack of experience. Good luck on your job search, hopefully you get the residency, working while going to school is tough but it will be a big help in the long run I would think.

    Wish you the best!

    MunkiRN
    Melodies of Legend likes this.
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    MunkiRN,

    Thank you for the response and information. I like feedback from others, who don't know me, because of course most of the time my family and friends tell me what I want to hear, and I want to hear the real truth.

    I never really thought of how programs are set up, but it makes complete since. I definitely think working while beginning the program will help, even if I work part-time. Worst case scenario, I drop down to part time study if I feel I am floundering in the program. And...Although I will definitely be a green nurse after graduation, I feel that my additional healthcare experience makes me a little "darker" green, than some of my peers. Also, I forgot to mention, I was a sick teenager and was in an acute/critical care setting for some time, thus I have lived it personally, and learned bits and pieces along my journey.

    Again, thank you for your input! Like I've said, I know it is going to be hard, but I am almost positive I will begin the program in the Fall, I don't know if I could forgive myself for letting the opportunity pass.

    Congratulations on your acceptance into the PMHNP Program! It would be crazy if we met each other at RISE, that would really prove what a small world it is! I would love to keep in touch with you, and meet in August!

    Best of luck to you, too!

    ACARLOW
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    It would be great to meet in August, PM me when you reach 15 posts and we'll talk. I would also recommend talking with some of the instructors. They are pretty accessible and can give you great feedback on their experience with students who come in with no experience. They accepted you, and I have talked to the program director and she definitely doesn't want to set up students for failure, so see what they say and what their recommendations would be. Then just sit back and enjoy the next few months because life ends again in the fall!

    MunkiRN
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    Hi!I am planning to apply to University of Arizona's BSN DNP ACNP for Spring 2014 but I live in Nevada. Do you think they will accept me?=( Their website says BSN DNP online. I have been looking for schools that offer their classes online. I have finished an MSN with WGU this May and tried applying at Ball State but was denied because WGU does not calculate GPAs but only gives pass and fail grades. I tried applying to USA BSN DNP but I would like to have an option in case I get denied there, too.I am also looking into applying at University of Southern Indiana but they don't have a BSN DNP program...
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    If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, make one. Then, sign up for your free monthly trial for LinkedIn premium (you can delete it right away so that you aren't charged anything and your trial period will automatically expire at the end of the month). Use your trial period to stalk a bunch of ACNPs and check out their educational paths. How many went straight from BSN to NP? What are they up to now?

    Also, talk to real-life people. Online, when people are anonymous, they tend to like to let off steam/be more judgmental and rude than they would be in real-life. That's not to say you won't find useful responses here- you definitely will- but info from forums needs to be balanced with real-life info. Good luck!
  10. 1
    I had 1 year of RN experience before starting my FNP program and had 4 by the time I graduated. I worked throughout the whole program. As an FNP, I do find the intuition and assessment skills I developed as an RN helped.

    For what it's worth, I did an acute care rotation as part of my FNP program (at the time I had 18 months of hospital nursing experience) and was lapping the PA that my preceptor was also admitting in terms of rounding and admitting patients from the ER. I've found that nursing is either a "you have it or you don't" profession. I've seen numerous nurses that have been nurses for 30+ years that I wouldn't let take care of a house plant and I've seen numerous new grads that rocked and were amazing nurses from the get-go once they were oriented to the charting system and got time management skills (and vice versa). So as long as you're working to develop assessment skills while in the program, I think you'll do fine. I do not feel overwhelmed as an FNP yet (I've been practicing for only a month though) but anything I do not know, I look up. I think taking a sports med class helped me tremendously since that and ENT complaints are 80% of what I'm seeing every day.
    newbie23 likes this.
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    Please keep updating this as you go to RISE next month and how the fall goes. I am applying for the fall 2014, I would love to hear how it is going for you guys.
  12. 2
    Newbie23, I got a BSN from WGU last year. Their pass/fail-lack-of-GPA system can cause a problem, but I was told by Frontier's student advisors that they are aware of WGU's system and still accept WGU students into their DNP program. I was accepted into University of Arkansas' ACNP BSN-DNP program after taking the Miller Analogies Test and scoring well.

    Also, after ten years in critical care, I totally agree with greygooseuria that some have it and some don't. I am an educator responsible for new hires into our busy ICU, and I have been burned many a time by the 'experienced' nurses who can barely function, while the new grad next to them thrives.
    greygooseuria and newbie23 like this.
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    I am a BSN to DNP student. I am on year 2 of my program. Honestly, I don't agree that you need floor experience. I have been a floor nurse for 4 years & am certified in med/surg. Other than critical thinking it has not really made a difference. With this it's really more about pathophysiology & pharmacology. Understanding disease presentation & process.


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