I am a BSN student who is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the future, probably a year after I graduate. I have read some posts and found that many here believe that an RN with that little experience has no place in Advanced Practice programs. This is where I disagree.
I believe that Nursing culture is shooting itself in the foot here, and here's my
cents why. A prospective doctor does not have to leave college after a bachelors degree to gain experience in the field of biology or chemistry before going on to Med school. A prospective college professor does not have to leave college after his bachelor's degree to get experience teaching at the grade school level. So WHY do so many believe that an RN has to leave school after their bachelor's degree to gain whatever many years of experience at the clinical level before going on to grad school?
I believe that it is counterproductive for the nursing profession as a whole to discourage students who wish to complete their education (MSN or beyond) before beginning clinical or other types of practice. You would think that the sensible thing to do is get your education, and THEN
get your experience. Am I the only one who feels like this?
Jul 19, '09
by Ginger's Person
I really wish I agreed with you. I'm going to get a second bachelors in nursing, and I eventually plan to chose an advanced practice specialty. It would be nice to get school over with sooner and go straight to grad school, but I think I will wait a few years and get some on the job experience.
You mentioned how physicians aren't expected to get on the job biology or any other work experience before they enter a doctorate of medicine program, so it should follow that nurses shouldn't need to get nursing experience before they enter a masters or doctorate in nursing practice program. But, there is a huge difference in what medical education offers and advanced practice nursing programs offer.
MD's have just 2 full time years of basic science education, then they complete tens of thousands of structured hours of clinical experiences during their 2 years of clinicals and 3 years of residency before they are board certified physicians. I think part of the idea is that MD's need these years of on the job education to really learn about the process of disease in patients so they can recognize and manage patients consistently well.
Advanced practice nursing programs, on the other hand, offer far fewer supervised clinical hours and then there are few opportunities for structured APN residencies. Yet, APN's need to have expert knowledge of disease processes and presentations, case management techniques, etc... stuff that all types of health professional needs to learn from experience. In my mind, years spent working with patients as an RN serves as a great substitute for the formal clinical hours that APN programs don't offer to the same degree as MD (or even PA) programs.
I think that requiring nurses to have experience before they go into advanced practice is a kind of recognition that nursing is an intellectual pursuit. Nurses learn while during their work, and what they learn can be applied to different types of jobs. For years, I feel, nurses were just seen as 'doing' while docs did 'thinking.' It's clear that this was never true, and APN professions are now using the knowledge that nurses gain from their hard work to fill a broader range of challenging roles.
Even in non-health professions, I think that on the job experience matters a lot. Most of my prof's in college strongly encouraged us to get work experience before applying to grad school or law school - many claimed that it was easily apparent which students had done meaningful work in a related field before grad school. Furthermore, professor's aren't expected to teach elementary school before they teach college, instead they TA college courses and perform original research - which basically the same thing they do as professors, but in a supervised environment.
But, I wish you luck in whatever you do and however you decide to get there. I don't mean to judge your career choices, I'm sure you'll make the best one for you!
Last edit by Ginger's Person on Jul 19, '09
I'd like to add that there are programs (such as Columbia University in New York) that offer a type of MSN where you come in with a bachelors degree in another field (non-nursing)& go straight through all of your nursing education from the beginning to the NP part & come out an NP - I personally worked with an NP from this program & she seemed very competent.
Last edit by Lisa1203 on Jul 19, '09