BSN to NP: to wait or not wait

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    I'm working on finishing my BSN with hopes of beginning the Nurse Practitioner program within a year of graduating. My question is for current practicing NPs: do you think there should be a minimum of years worked as an RN before being allowed to begin an NP program, why or why not? Thanks so much for your input!
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    About Walker.Abb

    Joined: Jan '11; Posts: 5


  3. by   Annaiya
    AC and NNP programs do require a certain number of years of RN experience. Are you asking if that requirement should be added to other specialities?
  4. by   gettingbsn2msn
    Vanderbilt offers a DE option so you would not need to wait. However, my personal thought is that one should work at least one year before embarking on np school. I believe this because the first year is a very difficult transition period. It would have been too stressful for me and I would not have learned as much in that environment.
  5. by   reeya
    Even though some programs may not require you to work one yr, I would strongly suggest getting a yr of RN acute experience like med/surg, tele, ER etc. You learn to organize, prioritize urgent care, and above all you develop critical thinking process through work experience which will be invaluable for you as a future NP. If you want to work as an inpatient hospital team (hospitalist) must have some experience as RN. Even in outpatient setting, nurses with experience are hired faster than inexperienced ones. It also depends geographically by region. Some other region may not be as selective and competitive as west.
  6. by   foxyhill21
    I personally think a person should complete 1 year of nursing before NP school
  7. by   Christen, ANP
    I agree with most everyone here. While it's not required, a little experience never hurt anyone and can only help you. You may not see bedside nursing as your long term career, but you can get a lot out of it. You learn how to talk to people, how to interact with patients/families/physicians/other members of a team, you learn what happens when you give this med or that intervention, what a disease process actually looks like, you learn how to prioritize and manage your time appropriately. And you get to meet people and network. And that is just to start!
  8. by   Walker.Abb
    Thanks everybody for your valuable input. I really appreciated all the first-hand experience you each shared with me.
    Thanks again for the conversation!!
  9. by   gettingbsn2msn
    I started clinicals this week with a MD preceptor. Thank God I put in 2 years on a med surg floor. I would have felt like an idiot otherwise. I still have much to learn but he really asked me a ton of questions. I had to at least have some grasp of the disease concept. I have floor nursing (because of administration) but it is going to be invaluable to me regarding clinicals.
  10. by   McGyverRN
    The FNP program I am in required at least 2 years experience. Having just completed a semester in theory and public health and now working on health policy and advanced nursing research, I don't think it would be very wise to start a program without experience. These courses require students to have opinions on various nursing/healthcare issues and drawn on experiences in order to complete assignments and participate on the discussion boards. In 2015, a DNP will be required for new FNP's to practice. There are BSN to DNP programs available now and I am sure that more will be available in the future.
  11. by   loved
    I don't think you need to wait. I am preparing for my FNP certification exam right now and a lot of time I have to take out my notes from BSN for reference. Depends on what kind of NP you are interested in. If you want to do FNP, then I think you should just go ahead, because FNP is from a primary care perspective and most of RN jobs are too acute to relate to FNP.
    Good luck!!!
  12. by   Cardiology EP NP
    I think 1-2 years of experience is sufficient. There are so many basic things in nursing that are helpful when you get to NP school. Just knowing about all the drugs, various treatments, how to triage certain conditions are things that you become more familiar with when working as an RN. And if you want to specialize as an NP, say in cardiology or oncology, it really helps to have that work experience. Employers look for that too.
  13. by   FNPdude74
    I agree work experience helps. But why don't you start school and work at the same time? At least you can get some classes out of the way like nursing research and theory, roles course, health policy, etc. I did that and after a year, I stopped working due to heavy load of clinicals and didactics. Working certainly helps you get more exposed to the work environment, but acute care nursing is not like primary care nursing. It is different in the way of thinking and approaching things. You're not going to be in a primary care setting with "everything within reach" as in a hospital. Most clinics do not or will not carry CRRT machines, PFT machines, etc due to logistics and cost issues. Some things helped me though such as inserting IVs for hydration and giving IV NSAIDs for acute pain in migraine. I'd say nursing experience I'll help you in skills and prioritizing, but there are many nurses I've talked to that told me they feel incompetent during their FNP clinical even though they had over 10-20yrs of experience. I cant say that for all nurses though. I respect nurses with that much RN experience. As an RN, I did not interpret tests to make diagnoses, read X-ray films for things such as bronchograms on a possible lung consolidation in the radiologic zone of BS. I have never sutured lacerations, performed orthopedic joint injections with corticosteroids in shoulders/spine/knee/etc, perform womens health pelvic exams, deliver babies, intubated a patient, make casts, etc....until I got into the fnp program. You do different things and the practice is different. I feel like I know more quicker going through this program than working 1 year, but that's just me because I'm a geek who doesn't mind sitting in front of books all day and reading online journals on medscape, MD consult, pubmed, and listening to medical podcasts. I'm also a tech geek who is heavily involved with using my iPad and iphone for quick knowledge. This is all just me. Sorry if I offended anyone who has extensive RN experience. This is something I wanted to do with my life and chose this path to become a FNP and its not for everyone. however, I must agree that most hospitals choose NPs with at least 1-5 years of RN experience. Especially if you want to become a hospitalist, work in ER/intensivsts, most places require the experience as an RN and that's understandable. I'm tired now but ill say more later.
  14. by   apocatastasis
    I'm in the Alternate Entry program at UT and am a psych NP student. Been an RN for a little over a year and a half. After I did the intensive RN part of my program, instead of immediately taking the first of two NP years full time, I only took adv patho and adv pharm the first year while I worked full time in ICU for a year and a couple months. Now been in ER for 6 months.

    Totally worth it. Just 3 months of ICU helped me coast in adv. patho when some of my classmates struggled. I have a much better grasp of acute care conditions, psychosocial conditions, the gaps in US healthcare, effects of local and regional healthcare policy than my classmates that haven't worked. Cuz when you're an RN, you're out in the Real World... and nursing school is definitely NOT the Real World.

    I would like to temper this by saying that being an RN and NP are very different roles. I think some people put more emphasis on the RN role than is necessary (I've known RNs that have been RNs for 20 years and wouldn't let them prescribe anything for my goldfish even if they went back to school.). There is a lot to learn in NP school that you aren't taught as an RN. Advanced practice is not all intuitive, and you won't learn to prescribe and diagnose by osmosis. It all depends on what kind of work experience you get, how intelligent you are, and how much effort you put into getting the most out of work and school.

    I would say to anyone thinking of becoming an RN, new BSN or thinking of a direct-entry program... work for a year. Work in a high-acuity environment with good educational support for new nurses. Take a year to have fun, earn your stripes and make the new nurse mistakes, and most importantly, study study study.