Acute Care NP - DNP Program

  1. Hello -

    I have been a nurse for 2 years now and am currently a charge RN on a 34 bed telemetry floor (night shift). I have a very strong desire to continue my education and currently have an application in to a Acute Care NP program that is also a DNP program. I was curious to hear from other current/future ACNP's out there as I have a few questions... First, I elected to go for a DNP program because of the future requirements shift and so that I have a more diverse degree to fall back on in case I want to pursue education or research in the future and because the only local options in my area are FNP programs at the masters level and I am pretty convinced that I want to work in a hospital setting. How do you view the differences in programs/certifications? Is getting a job as a brand new NP as easy prospect? (I remember how hard it was to get a job as an RN with no experience...) I also have questions about how the pay is and if the increas in pay is worth an extra 3+ years of school and the associated debt (which I already have a ton of since I have 2 bachelor's degrees...) Again, I am very sure that I want to pursue a more advanced practice level but with all the options (CRNA after a year plus ICU experience, FNP, MD??) I would value outside insight. Thank you!
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    About npschuma

    Joined: Jan '08; Posts: 5; Likes: 7


  3. by   phuture_rn
    I'm very interested in hearing a reply as well.
  4. by   juan de la cruz
    I'm an ACNP trained at the master's degree level (graduated in December 2003). I have only worked in hospital settings as an NP and have been quite fortunate that I have not run into much difficulties with my job search both as a new NP and more so recently as an experienced NP. It is definitely harder to land your first job but once you get your foot in the door and you get "connected" with other providers within the larger health care environment, you tend to get the "lowdown" on who's looking to hire a nurse practitioner or what hospital has openings and who is the contact person for the specific job opening, something that is quite elusive if you're someone who is just starting out or not in the "field" yet.

    The prevalence of acute care positions in hospitals are region-dependent. PA's have been working in all hospital departments for years but it seems like there are still areas in the US where NP's have not quite transitioned into hospital-based roles. There are also areas in the country where the perception of the ideal NP candidate is an FNP because (1) that's the only programs available in the specific locality and (2) employers do not realize that there are differences in the training and the NP title alone does not allow flexibility to practice wherever. I would thoroughly research your area if you plan to stay there to practice and see what the trends are. ACNP's tend to be more popular in big cities with larger medical centers that have specialty practices.
  5. by   lvICU
    I am probably the least qualified person to reply but I figured I would give you a little info. I am in an ACNP program in the south east (rather not discuss which state) Our program director really is expressing the attitude that we will not have any problem finding a job as long as we are willing to relocate within a few hours of where I currently live. I think that the trend is leaning towards hiring ACNPs for the hospitalist and intensivist role.
  6. by   CuriousRN84
    I am set to attend a DNP program with a dual track..acute care & fnp..i chose to do that because it would give me a specialty and something to fall back on with the area in the country are not yet utilizing the acute care np in the hospitals but with the dual specialty, I'm hoping to find a place in my home town..