Need advice: Master's or BSN/work exp 1st? - page 2

Hi y'all! I'm currently finishing my prerequisites to apply to accelerated programs, hopefully for summer/fall 2005 if everything goes well. I know I want to get my MSN, and I want to be a NNP. ... Read More

  1. by   nurseamena
    Hi there, I just finished my masters in Neonatal nursing in July. I'm working as a nurse at the moment since I wanted nursing experience. I think the amount of nursing experience needed to be a good NNP depends upon the person and the type of experiences that you get in their unit. You may see more in 1 year at one hospital than you would 3 years in another.

    The National Certification Corporation has just recently required 2 years of NICU experience to sit for the NNP exam. While I am "grandfathered" in at the moment, it applies to anyone now entering programs. This applies to all schools.

    I took this off of Vanderbilt's school of nursing website:

    Recently, the National Certification Corporation (NCC), a not for profit organization that provides the national credentialing program for nurses in neonatal nursing specialties, changed the eligibility criteria for national certification and educational standards for Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs. The requirement is as follows.

    The NNP program entry requirements as of January 1, 2005 require that all students entering the NNP program must have two years of clinical nursing experience in a critical care environment where high risk neonatal care is provided.

    Hope this helps!
  2. by   elizabells
    Quote from nurseamena
    Hi there, I just finished my masters in Neonatal nursing in July. I'm working as a nurse at the moment since I wanted nursing experience. I think the amount of nursing experience needed to be a good NNP depends upon the person and the type of experiences that you get in their unit. You may see more in 1 year at one hospital than you would 3 years in another.

    The National Certification Corporation has just recently required 2 years of NICU experience to sit for the NNP exam. While I am "grandfathered" in at the moment, it applies to anyone now entering programs. This applies to all schools.

    I took this off of Vanderbilt's school of nursing website:

    Recently, the National Certification Corporation (NCC), a not for profit organization that provides the national credentialing program for nurses in neonatal nursing specialties, changed the eligibility criteria for national certification and educational standards for Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Programs. The requirement is as follows.

    The NNP program entry requirements as of January 1, 2005 require that all students entering the NNP program must have two years of clinical nursing experience in a critical care environment where high risk neonatal care is provided.

    Hope this helps!
    Thank you, thank you! I've been hearing things about it, but no specifics or hard facts. I really appreciate this.
  3. by   Tiki_Torch
    Hi Elizabells,

    One plausable option is to work as a bedside NICU RN for 2 or more years (preferably one where you can get lots of experience with lots of different types of patients) before doing the Nurse Practitioner classes. After you have been working in the NICU for 6 months or so you could take some classes towards your Masters program (if you have any left to take), one class each semester or so. This way you can see for yourself by watching the seasoned nurses and the NNPs you would be working with as they go about their daily work. You may be amazed how difficult performing procedures and making critical thinking decisions can be some times when you are actually working in the NICU. A lot can be said for finding a mentor on the unit too. I honestly believe hands on experience first will make you the kind of practitioner you truly want to be. You seem to be a very caring, motivated person and I'm sure you will make the best decision for yourself.

    Wishing you only the best!!!

    Tiki

    PS I received the same information from NCC about the NNP test requirements, etc. in a mailing from them a few weeks ago. I have my RNC certification from NCC in Intensive Care Neonatal Nursing. The information presented in the post about Vanderbilt's NNP program is accurate.
    Last edit by Tiki_Torch on Mar 4, '05
  4. by   elizabells
    Quote from Tiki_Torch
    Hi Elizabells,

    One plausable option is to work as a bedside NICU RN for 2 or more years (preferably one where you can get lots of experience with lots of different types of patients) before doing the Nurse Practitioner classes. After you have been working in the NICU for 6 months or so you could take some classes towards your Masters program (if you have any left to take), one class each semester or so. This way you can see for yourself by watching the seasoned nurses and the NNPs you would be working with as they go about their daily work. You may be amazed how difficult performing procedures and making critical thinking decisions can be some times when you are actually working in the NICU. A lot can be said for finding a mentor on the unit too. I honestly believe hands on experience first will make you the kind of practitioner you truly want to be. You seem to be a very caring, motivated person and I'm sure you will make the best decision for yourself.

    Wishing you only the best!!!

    Tiki

    PS I received the same information from NCC about the NNP test requirements, etc. in a mailing from them a few weeks ago. I have my RNC certification from NCC in Intensive Care Neonatal Nursing. The information presented in the post about Vanderbilt's NNP program is accurate.
    Thanks, Tiki! You have no idea how much guff I've gotten just for posting that I was _going_ into one of these programs. Now I just have to hope they let me take the time between the two phases. I'm pretty sure Columbia has been running this program for a while, so I'm going to assume they have their act together! :uhoh21:
  5. by   ProfRN4
    Quote from elizabells
    now i just have to hope they let me take the time between the two phases. i'm pretty sure columbia has been running this program for a while, so i'm going to assume they have their act together! :uhoh21:
    actually, i know a couple of nrses who are in 'part 2' (masters) of the program (pnp though), and they've told me that the school strongly encourages their students to keep going right away. i don't know if nnp is different, if they require a minimum # of experience at the bedside, then maybe it is different.
  6. by   elizabells
    Quote from bonemarrowrn
    actually, i know a couple of nrses who are in 'part 2' (masters) of the program (pnp though), and they've told me that the school strongly encourages their students to keep going right away. i don't know if nnp is different, if they require a minimum # of experience at the bedside, then maybe it is different.
    given that the regulations require the experience prior to certification, i think they must! if they don't then i'm just going to work after i graduate and not take the np certifying test until i think i'm ready. the last, last, last thing i ever want to do is take responsibilities on that i'm not prepared for!!!

    eta: okay, i went to the columbia infosession this weekend and here's the deal: you do the one-year pre-licensure stuff, sit for the nclex, then work full time for two years in a level iii nicu while taking core science classes. then you can take the master's level classes to prepare for np certification. hope that clears things up!
    Last edit by elizabells on Mar 10, '05 : Reason: new info
  7. by   Tiki_Torch
    Sounds like a really great plan Elizabells!!!

    Let us know how it goes! I'm sure we would all be interested to keep up with you as you progress over the next few years!!

    Tiki
  8. by   LilPeanut
    I have been accepted into Ohio State's NNP program. The way it works there is we essentially have an accellerated RN program, so we can sit for our boards in 6-7 quarters (required to go more than full time every quarter, including summers) and then you go and find a job in a level III NICU. You have to work for at least 2 years before you can come back and start your clinicals in the master level. Prior to the newest standard, it was 1 year. Once you've had at least 2 years of clinical experience, you return, do your master's work and then sit for your NNP certification. Most direct entry programs here take 3+ years, the NNP takes 5+ years.

    I personally love this method of doing it, because I really want to get that clinical experience as a nurse first and I think it weeds out some of the people from the program. There's been several that I've run into who are getting out of NNP or didn't choose NNP simply because they didn't want to have such a long training time. I don't think they should be in the program if they can toss it aside that easily. I have absolutely no interest in doing anything other than NNP. That's the way it should be, IMO. To be in the NICU as an NNP it really needs to be your passion, I think.

    Our program director though is really good about trying to get us into the NICU for clinicals as much as possible, knowing we need the experience there.
  9. by   elizabells
    Quote from LilPeanut
    I have been accepted into Ohio State's NNP program. The way it works there is we essentially have an accellerated RN program, so we can sit for our boards in 6-7 quarters (required to go more than full time every quarter, including summers) and then you go and find a job in a level III NICU. You have to work for at least 2 years before you can come back and start your clinicals in the master level. Prior to the newest standard, it was 1 year. Once you've had at least 2 years of clinical experience, you return, do your master's work and then sit for your NNP certification. Most direct entry programs here take 3+ years, the NNP takes 5+ years.

    I personally love this method of doing it, because I really want to get that clinical experience as a nurse first and I think it weeds out some of the people from the program. There's been several that I've run into who are getting out of NNP or didn't choose NNP simply because they didn't want to have such a long training time. I don't think they should be in the program if they can toss it aside that easily. I have absolutely no interest in doing anything other than NNP. That's the way it should be, IMO. To be in the NICU as an NNP it really needs to be your passion, I think.

    Our program director though is really good about trying to get us into the NICU for clinicals as much as possible, knowing we need the experience there.
    Exactly, peanut! A couple of girls at the Columbia infosession asked about changing their specialty right after we were told the program would take 5yrs instead of 3. That's fine with me; from everything I've heard you have to be REALLY committed to the NICU to survive there, and if extra school prior to independent practice scares you off then it's probably not the right place. I admit to having a moment of panic at the prospect of being in NY an extra two years, but this is what I want, and nothing else will do.
  10. by   fergus51
    I'm glad the new requirements are weeding out the less commited. This is exactly what concerned some of us about advanced programs before. Nice to see this....
  11. by   LilPeanut
    at the first infosession, it was so weird. I already knew I wanted to be NNP, and as we broke out into the different specialties, I was getting ready to feel bad for them all because I was positive everyone would be in the NNP room and who cares about the others? :lol: It's just so hard for me to imagine that there are people who don't realize that it is the best place to be
  12. by   elizabells
    Quote from fergus51
    I'm glad the new requirements are weeding out the less commited. This is exactly what concerned some of us about advanced programs before. Nice to see this....
    Not to sound like a nerd, Fergus, but I'm really glad to hear you say that. Some of us pre-kids do actually worry about what experienced nurses think, even if we don't always act like it! The other good thing about this system, I think, is that with the 2 years work exp, if I (or others) see the different roles in the NICU and decide that being a bedside nurse is the perfect thing, and I don't want to be an NNP after all, I can stop the program and continue as a staff nurse. I worry a bit about these programs shoving kids through and ending up with bitter NPs who would just as soon have stayed at the bedside, but don't want to "demote" (fully aware and ironic use of finger quotes there!) themselves, and then they get soured on nursing altogether. So it's good all around, I think.

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