Best path to becoming a FNP

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    My question: What is the best and/or fastest way to become a Family Nurse Practitioner? I have applied to Vanderbilt's bridge program, which takes two years. If I do not get accepted, what is another good route? I know there are all sorts of options for getting to the final point, such as LPN, ASN, BSN. However, some of those routes will take a long time! What is the most cost effective route? What is the most time efficient route? What is the most marketable route? I appreciate any constructive advice you can offer!

    Background: From age 21 - 28 I either worked in groups homes with developmentally challenged individuals or I worked in youth ministry. I say this to reflect my desire to work with people. Three years ago I decided to go into accounting to have a more "stable" career.

    Presently: I have been working in accounting, but do not like it...big surprise. I am currently transitioning into nursing and nothing sounds more fascinating and perfect for me than becoming a family nurse practitioner (FNP). I have shadowed a few to support my notion. I am also currently enrolled at a community college to take nursing prerequisites.

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  3. 14 Comments...

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    Most advanced nurse practitioner programs require a master's degree. There may be some that still will equip you with a certificate only, but I think that those programs may be phasing out/merging with master degree programs. I know that some will accept non-nursing bachelor degrees. I'm not familiar with Vanderbilt's program. However, I encourage you to get experience in the field of nursing before you enter FNP education--will help you understand nursing process, critical thinking, and other skills necessary to be a competent and successful FNP. Yes, it takes time, but time well spent. I have a question--- Why do you think you want to be a FNP? You sound like someone who genuinely cares for people, so just curious, thus the question. I wish you well in your endeavors.
    Fourfecta likes this.
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    @font-face { font-family: "cambria"; }p.msonormal, li.msonormal, div.msonormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "times new roman"; }div.section1 { page: section1; } my experiences working with disabled individuals of all ages (literally 14 to 99) shows my desire and ability to work with a variety of people. i also realized that family nurse practitioner was the best option for me while i was shadowing another fnp. this particular specialty would allow me to be part of a patient's family and not just an individual in the family. and, based on my research, it appears to be the most marketable and resilient to economic downturns.

    p.s. thanks for your response
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    Best is relative to a lot of things, including, level of income, level of education, amount of time, etc.

    For instance, if you have enough money to go to school full time and accelerated program might be the best bet. Then again, if you struggle with classes, no amount of money put away is going to make the ultra-intense accelerated program a good choice. I know your ultimate goal is to become a FNP.

    If you can afford not to work, I will say that, since you already have a degree a year-long ABSN would be quickest. Depending on what prereqs you still need, you could have your BSN in a couple of years (likely not less, as you probably have a number of prereqs to take first). At that point you can (hopefully) find a job. There is a reasonable chance your employer may pay for continuing your education, but even if not, a lot of master's programs are going to require experience anyway, so this would be a good option. However, it is significantly more expensive than, say an ADN. Theoretcially you could work as an RN with an AD and then bridge. But, though an employer almost certainly would pay for the bridge, you will be in school longer this way.

    Good luck with your choice.
    Fourfecta likes this.
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    Just wanted to add, you seem to be about 31 now. I would never tell someone they can't do something, but you should understand that, in order to do this the fastest way, you'll probably be at least 37 or older when you attain your Masters and will have a substantial amount of debt. I would make sure that regular RN work is something you could see yourself doing if everything doesn't go the way you plan. So often we hear of people who want graduate nursing degrees and the increase in pay that goes along with it (most often CRNA), with no desire to be a practicing RN. I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to be any sort of professional for whatever reason, but to not even contemplate the fact that one might be placed in another situation is risky, IMO.
    Fourfecta likes this.
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    I also want to become a family nurse practitioner. I got my associates in Nursing, am currently working as a nurse, and going back to school for my bachelors. I talked to a NP that is on my floor she specializes in otolarynology, however what she told me really helped me. She told me that I should work as a floor nurse for several years so I build my nursing instinct and confidence because when you are making the calls of your patients care, you are going to have to make the right judgement decisions.

    Some schools offer RN to MS programs and you can see if they have a MS specialty in FNP. I applied to U of MD, they had a program like that but they recently discontinued it.
    Fourfecta likes this.
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    Thanks for all of the comments so far. I do agree that it would be ideal to get some actual RN experience first. However, ideal is out of the window for me, as ideally I would have realized that nursing/FNP was a good fit for me eight years ago I think the best option for me is to first try to get into a bridge program that combines the BSN and FNP, or a BSN program and later go on to get my masters. I completely agree with the comment about getting experience in order to gain confidence diagnosing people. I actually already have a master in theology and I have considerable experience working with people and "diagnosing" problems....I realize it is not the same as medical diagnosing, but it is still valuable.
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    Besides Vanderbilt's bridge program, does anyone else know of any accelerated programs? What are you thoughts concerning on-line nursing education? ....I am not necessarily in favor of it, but I know some go that route. Thanks
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    You say you already have a master's degree, albeit in a different field, so you may want to look into a direct entry MSN program. These programs typically require you to have at least a Bachelor's in another field to be considered.

    Even if you were to gain admission to a direct entry program though, I would still encourage you to work as an RN after completing the first half of the program. While you say you have experience working in group homes, I'm sure most employers would be hesitant to hire a FNP with no real healthcare/nursing experience.
    Fourfecta likes this.
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    Thanks ChristineN. I agree with you. The question remains, why do schools like Vanderbilt even offer a bridge program that requires no RN experience, if it strongly encouraged to have RN experience? Apparently, clinics and hospitals still hire FNP's with little to no experience as an RN. Thanks for your comments.

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