RN Experience for Advanced Practice Nurses?

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    This topic was brought up in another bb. I thought it would spur some interesting discusion here as an extension of the eduaction debate. Do advanced practice nurses need RN experience to be good at what they do? This is possible through programs for new graduate nurses to be NP's as well as programs that take you straight trough for your NP (they do get an RN along the way of course). Do you feel that these nurses need RN experience or is the role diffrent enough that they can do without?
  2. 9 Comments so far...

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    Advanced practice nurses will find their jobs much easier if they have had nursing experience. Additionally, a little maturity and knowing how to deal with patients and families that comes with age and experience goes a long way in establishing credibility. I would not want to try to be a practitioner straight out of a program like this and find it interesting that someone with this type of degree gets hired.
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    I have to agree with Barb O! I am in an RN-MSN accelerated program for advanced practice nurses and I have only a few years of experience but I am still keeping my job as I work through the program. Experience is the best teacher and you will find how much your previous RN experience aids you along the way! I have never heard about going through a program without previous experience because criteria usually mandate around 2 years prior RN experience.
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    Actually, the topic came up in the other bb because this person couldn't find a job. It seemed to be a combined problem of a saturated market and having no experience. However, there are programs as I said before that are set up particularly for people with no experience. Most I have heard of are ones that are four years of education that end in an NP. I also have a classmate that is attending a Vanderbilt University program that is set up for newly graduated nurses. I agree that experience is the best teacher, which is one of the many reasons I didn't even consider grad school immediatly after graduation. But...isn't the other side of this arguement that the RN role is very diffrent than that of the NP? Does being an RN really prepare you for being an advanced practice nurse? We don't require PA's to have been any kind of healthcare worker before hand. Why is it diffrent for nursing?
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    I do not know that much about PA's but in regards to the question of does experience as an RN help with the advanced practice role...most definitely! If you do not know the subtle signs of a disease (they don't always present themselves as the "book" states) and do not know how to group the manifestations together, and SPECIFICALLY to use critical thinking, all the schooling in the world will not help you. Now, obviously this is strictly a personal opinion. Remember that as an advanced practice nurse you will be (depending on where and to what capacity you will be working) reading EKG's, dispensing medications, and DIAGNOSING illness or REFERRING patients to other physician's. Nurses use their critical skills every day when assessing there patients to determine if there are any complications or an impending problem. I would not suggest going into a advanced practice program without prior nursing knowledge, period. As for the PA, I do not know if the diagnose patients, have their own case load or dispense medications because I am not familiar with this profession. Please do not get me wrong. I am not saying that it is totally impossible to go straight through an NP program without prior RN experience, BUT maybe that is why some are having a problem getting a job, and not the market saturation. It can be very difficult for a lot of new RN's to get jobs in general,but you usually don't see seasoned RN's waiting for a job long...at least in my neck of the woods.
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    I think RN experience is important in the development of NP practice for several reasons. Scope of practice for an NP, though broader, is built on everything one learns and implements as an RN, both in school and the workplace. A really importannt concept is patient advocacy, imbedded into every nursing student's mind from day one of school, but developed during practice. It's only through working directly with patients and their families and also through close relationships with other nurses (and doctors - but mainly nurses...) that one can hone those advocacy skills, as well as the assessment and critical thinking skills that an NP brings forward into practice. We all know how different nursing school is from the reality of the workplace. I don't see how one can really even know if nursing is right for him/her if the feel isn't gotten for it from working. A nurse practitioner is a nurse first. Everything learned and experienced by a nurse is brought forth and expanded upon in the role of a nurse practitioner. I am beginning an FNP program late August, just completed my BSN after 17 years with an ASN and have found all of the experience invaluable. Sometimes feel that this goal of becoming an FNP is taking forever but, for me, the confidence gained from the experiences has been a necessity in deciding to take the next step into advanced practice.
    Sincerely, Meegan
    babywinona23 likes this.
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    i have to agree. new grads do not have the intuitive skills that can only be gained through experience. i have just started in an FNP program after 12 years of being a nurse. there are 3 nurses in my class with 1 year of experience. it is obvious from discussions we have had that they do not have the maturity or wisdom which needs to be present for this role. they have shown by their attitudes that they have no delegation skills and have an elevated attitude of their knowledge base. they are in the program because they do not want to deal with bedpans or other menial tasks, not because they have grown out of the staff nurse role. i feel that an APN must have the "mellowness" that can only come with experience.
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    I will answer this from personal experience. As an Advanced Nurse Practitioner I feel the experience I had as a nurse made me the NP I am today. I am in women's health and right out of nursing school wasn't able to find a job in a hospital because I didn't have any experience. I got a job as a RN in an OB/GYN office and worked for four years before entering a NP program. Those four years were building blocks for my current practice as an ARNP. I was fortunate to come back to the same practice after completing the program so this made it somewhat easier as far as knowing the basics of how the office ran but putting my new knowledge into practice was successful because I was able to build on what I had already been doing. I feel like many of the others, experience is key!
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    I will answer this from personal experience. As an Advanced Nurse Practitioner I feel the experience I had as a nurse made me the NP I am today. I am in women's health and right out of nursing school wasn't able to find a job in a hospital because I didn't have any experience. I got a job as a RN in an OB/GYN office and worked for four years before entering a NP program. Those four years were building blocks for my current practice as an ARNP. I was fortunate to come back to the same practice after completing the program so this made it somewhat easier as far as knowing the basics of how the office ran but putting my new knowledge into practice was successful because I was able to build on what I had already been doing. I feel like many of the others, experience is key!
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    I will answer this from personal experience. As an Advanced Nurse Practitioner I feel the experience I had as a nurse made me the NP I am today. I am in women's health and right out of nursing school wasn't able to find a job in a hospital because I didn't have any experience. I got a job as a RN in an OB/GYN office and worked for four years before entering a NP program. Those four years were building blocks for my current practice as an ARNP. I was fortunate to come back to the same practice after completing the program so this made it somewhat easier as far as knowing the basics of how the office ran but putting my new knowledge into practice was successful because I was able to build on what I had already been doing. I feel like many of the others, experience is key!


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