ACNP or FNP?

  1. 0
    I am in the process of applying to the NP bridge program at Vanderbilt and would like to get other people's thoughts on which option I should choose: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner vs. Family Nurse Practitioner.

    For those of you out there that are one of these, what do you love about the job and what is a typical day in the life like (feel free to get technical if you like)? It sounds strange since they are so dramatically different options, but I can see myself doing both.

    Many thanks from the newbie!

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  2. 3 Comments...

  3. 0
    hi tnsdd-
    before i can give you a productive answer, i think it would be helpful to know a little more about your background, nursing experience, what appeals to you about being an FNP vs. ACNP, and what kinds of jobs you are considering.
  4. 0
    A little about me: I'm 28, wife, 2 kids (2 and 4 months). I have always had a strong desire to work in the medical world and was at one point a pre-med major in college. However, after shadowing a doc in college, I didn't like the lifestyle (and much more, the docs "god-complex" attitude). I don't feel the school I attended gave me good advice on the wide breadth of options I had in terms of working in the medical field. My UG degree is in marketing ... making Vandy's NP bridge program very enticing (although, I have been accepted to a BSN program starting in the fall also).

    Goal wise, I want to 'treat' patients. I actually lean towards the ACNP degree because I enjoy the fast-paced and stressful atmosphere. But I don't really know much about an actual day in the life of a ACNP, or for that matter a critical care nurse. I'm trying to find more information about ACNPs so I can make the determination between that or working in a more family type of practice.

    Thanks so much for the help. If you could shed some light on the life of a ACNP/critical care nurse, or the life of a FNP, I would greatly appreciate it.
  5. 0
    Originally posted by tnsddeveloper
    A little about me: I'm 28, wife, 2 kids (2 and 4 months). I have always had a strong desire to work in the medical world and was at one point a pre-med major in college. However, after shadowing a doc in college, I didn't like the lifestyle (and much more, the docs "god-complex" attitude). I don't feel the school I attended gave me good advice on the wide breadth of options I had in terms of working in the medical field. My UG degree is in marketing ... making Vandy's NP bridge program very enticing (although, I have been accepted to a BSN program starting in the fall also).

    Goal wise, I want to 'treat' patients. I actually lean towards the ACNP degree because I enjoy the fast-paced and stressful atmosphere. But I don't really know much about an actual day in the life of a ACNP, or for that matter a critical care nurse. I'm trying to find more information about ACNPs so I can make the determination between that or working in a more family type of practice.

    Thanks so much for the help. If you could shed some light on the life of a ACNP/critical care nurse, or the life of a FNP, I would greatly appreciate it.
    ok....let's see. for some reason, i am finding your question to be too broad to answer easily- and i see nobody else has tackled it either, so i must not be alone in this feeling! i'll do my best to help you out.

    here is my primary concern: i think before you decide on what kind of NP you want to be, you really need to decide if you want to become an RN & get some real-life hands-on experience before doing the NP component, or if you are positive that you want to do the bridge program and go straight to NP. i am also not totally convinced, at least not from what you wrote here, that medicine isn't still a viable option for you.

    i hate to be difficult, but the reality is that there is no "typical day in the life of" an FNP, an ACNP, or an RN. the nursing profession is incredibly diverse at both the RN and advanced practice level. there is really no way, imo, that a couple of us can throw a few posts up here for you to read that are going to give you a real sense of what this is all about.

    i also feel very strongly that you need to approach nursing (or medicine or whatever) as a career from a self-motivated and self-informed place. i am not saying that we can't help shed light on the choices you are looking at....but i just keep getting the feeling that you need to do some more personal soul-searching &/or research in order to make informed decisions about this big career move.

    for example, your post indicates that the reasons you are looking at becoming an NP (if i understand correctly) are:
    1.) you have a long-standing desire to work in the medical field in some capacity
    2.) you were pre-med for a while & shadowed one doc in college & didn't like the lifestyle & 'god-complex' you perceived to be connected to medicine
    3.) you want to 'treat' patients
    4.) you are attracted to a fast-paced & stressful work atmosphere

    these are all valid starting points for considering being an RN or an NP....but what i don't know is this: what is it about NURSING in general or being an NP more specifically that attracts you to this profession? there are lots of other fields in the medical profession- OT, PT, resp. therapist, radiological technicians, etc etc. lots make good $$ and have interesting, fast-paced jobs that make a real difference in their patient's lives.

    i am in no way discouraging you from pursuing nursing in any way, shape, or form. i love my profession. i just don't get from your posts how you came to choose nursing/NP as your path. and i do believe that one should possess a strong desire to be a nurse (NP) before one makes that commitment.

    consider these points:
    - i don't know what kind of doc you shadowed or for how long, but that may not be enough exposure to rule out medicine...there are all kinds of docs- while some have god complexes for sure lots don't. and i'm not sure what about the medical lifestyle is unappealing to you- is it actual working conditions or is it more social issues that you are referring to? anyhow, only you know if medicine is ruled out as an option- i just wanted to say perhaps it still could be a possibility.

    -have you ever shadowed an RN or an NP? or have you worked in settings where you have been exposed to the kind of work they do? i would strongly suggest that as a way to get a real "feel" for things. again, it won't tell you everything about what it means to be an RN or an NP- but in my experience, lots of student nurses & med students know when a specialty 'clicks' for them, and just feels 'right'.
    (side note: that's what happened to me the minute i walked into my first clinical assignment in an ER. prior to that, i had worked as a nursing assistant/tech in a women's health clinic, PICU, and OR--and i had done BSN clinical rotations in med/surg, OB, peds, and psych---none of which had appealed to me in the slightest. but with the ER, it was love at first sight, and i'm still in love 14 years later. personally, i wouldn't have known that without actual exposure. and i chose to pursue my FNP so I could work in ER/urgent care at an advanced practice level- making more $$ and having more autonomy, more responsibility, and more fun.)

    -you have a 2 yr old & a 4 month old....while i absolutely do not think this precludes you pursuing a BSN or an advanced degree right now, please think long & hard about how you are going to see this through. my kid was 10 months old when i started FNP school....and it was very, very hard. i needed support from her dad (we subsequently divorced but he always took on 50% of her care)- and from my parents & from my partner (we didn't share a home). i had to keep working all the way through school, AND i still needed student loans. and it was very, very hard to tear myself away from my daughter over & over & over. i have no regrets- and lots of other nurses & NPs have pulled off this kind of thing (and even crazier schemes!!)---just be aware it is really tough to be in school w/ 2 young'uns. i happen to believe it is also good for kids to see their mom (dad too) pursuing her dreams w/ dedication. it's all a balancing act. i assume your spouse is supportive--that makes a HUGE difference.

    -look around these boards- there are lots of threads about $$ & school-- as well as lots of threads about choosing nursing in general as a profession.

    let's see....you also wanted to know about ACNP vs FNP. Well, i cannot tell you anything about ACNP, i defer to others here- but my impression is that you probably need to know more about working in hospital/critical care settings before you choose that direction. i'd check out the critical care forums here if i were you, if you haven't already.

    about FNPs....here are the settings i can tell you just off the top of my head that i personally KNOW an FNP works in my region: ER (talk about fast-paced & stressful.....); urgent care; university/high school/middle school student health clinics; private practice offices- some w/ hospital responsibilities (internal medicine, family practice, OB/GYN, allergy specialist, endocrinology, neurology, pulmonology, orthopedics, pediatrics, pain clinic); county & city health departments; VA clinics; correctional medicine; occupational health; Indian Health Service...and that is just what i can remember off the top of my head. i'm sure you get the idea- it's very diverse. there is no "typical" FNP. i have done hospital-based orthopedics, ER, urgent care, occ.med, and correctional medicine. it's all very different from setting to setting.

    some folks come to their NP with tons of nursing experience, some (like you) have little to none. i am biased toward the experienced RN approach---but i admit it IS a bias, and i know there are plenty of fine NPs out there (some posting here in fact!) who didn't have lots of RN experience first- i do believe both paths are valid. but i would expect a student NP who had little or no nursing experience to be VERY clear about professional goals & be VERY motivated about being an NP.

    bottom line- i would suggest you take some time to clarify your own professional goals & educate yourself some more about RN/ACNP/FNP...then go for what feels like the truest fit for YOU.

    hope that helped in some way- good luck to you.


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