Need Advice on FNP school!

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    hi, i have been a nurse for about 2 years, but with only about 7 months real experience in the hospital. i am wanting to go back to school for fnp, but am a little concerned that i don't have enough experience. my questions are: do i need a lot more experience to be a good np out of school? when you get hired as a new np does the job come with an orientation? i love diagnosing and treating patients, i think i am just a little scared of increasing my level of responsibility when there is so much i don't know already!
    thanks to all who reply!!
  2. 48 Comments so far...

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    Hey Amber,
    I will be starting my last year of FNP school next semester. I started in health care in 1990 as a Resp. Therapist. I graduated from BSN school in 2003. There is no way I would have been ready for FNP school without my Resp. Therapy background! As for post-graduation orientation for NP's, there ain't none. You'll be oriented to the charting method (paper or electronic), shown where the bathroom is, and that is about it. Basically you will feel like you've been (and you'll hear this a thousand times, by the way) "thrown to the sharks", because you will be thrown to the sharks. Hopefully your care providing colleagues will be willing and able to help you in the areas in which your are least self-confident.

    That being said, Ive heard of new BSN grads going right into MSN-NP preparation. They must be really bright or in a very easy program. I'm not saying that it can't be done. I am saying that in my humble opinion it shouldn't be done, there is a vast amount of "stuff" that must become second nature to the Nurse prior to entering training for "Advanced Practice Nursing". Learn as much as you can in the Hospital, ask a bunch of questions, learn to read ECG's, X-rays, MRI's, CT's etc. well. Learn why the care providers order a certain therapy, versus ordering something else. Don't be afraid to be wrong!! You will learn a great deal be asking follow-up questions that require redirection by the provider giving the answer. It will mold your methods of critical thinking, problem solving, and logic.

    Most of all, enjoy Nursing! Enjoy the fact that you are the only one around treating the patient, not the patient's disorder or disease process!!
    jlcole45 likes this.
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    I would recommend getting more experience under your belt before applying. There are ALOT of people applying to FNP programs these days and you want to be as competitive as possible. I have 20 years experience in mostly ED and ICU and I was just accepted. Just wanted to let you know what you are up against. There were 20 slots and 85 applicants. I was told that there might be fewer slots in the future because of funding cuts to universities and the reduction of available grants (that fund extra faculty positions and other things).

    You also need to be very clear and focused on why you want to be an FNP. It is forecasted that there will be more opportunities opening in primary care, especially rural primary care as there are fewer and fewer MDs who are going into these areas (women's, peds and family care).

    Good luck.
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    What state do you live in?
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    I had very little RN experience before starting FNP school, mostly working in a med spa. I think the two roles are so vastly different that lack of RN experience is not going to hurt you. There were a couple other students in my class with 1 yr or less of RN experience and we all graduated. I did have a BS in biology but don't feel that helped much either. My undergrad GPA was like a 3.2 I think (so long ago!). I had an associates RN, can't remember my GPA but it was not top of the class, more middle I would say, I even failed pharmacology one year and had to repeat it!!... In NP school my GPA was a 3.6. It's vastly different training from RN, you should be fine.

    I can say that the real seasoned RNs with many years experience really seemed to struggle and many failed out of the program. I got the impression that the seasoned nurses were so stuck in their ways, "this is how we do it on my floor" that it really impaired their ability to answer questions on tests "from the book."

    If your a good student, apply yourself, and actually enjoy the material, keep an open mind, you'll do fine.
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    OMG, I am so glad I found this forum! I am a new RN, graduated from an accelerated program with a decent GPA, hold an MBA graduating with honors. I am currently working at an IMC, off orientations for a few months now. What I LOVE is the diagnosing, anlayzing the disease process, figuring out why a med is given an why an order is given, looking at labs and radiology studies etc. What I don't like is putting in NG tubes and foleys and all those things good nurses are suppose to know hands down. My skills are ok but I do need more experience in performing them. I am good with IV drips and any time of needles tasks and excellent in the critical thinking aspect of nursing.

    Here is my question: What is the absolutely BEST nursing experience I can get for the next 1.5 yrs b/f I apply to FNP school? Is it med surg, ICU, home health with kids. I tend to like fewer, more critical patients b/c it requires more critical thinking skills than does a lot of patients not as critical. What I don't like is to be rushed and not fully understand what is going on with the patient. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have also studied, on my own, alternative health medicine and want to focus a practice on integrative health.

    Thanks,
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    Hi,

    A lot of people will probably disagree with my advice, but why wait to apply to NP school? If this is truly what you want, then I don't see any point in waiting. I am a direct entry grad with no RN experience who is doing quite well as an FNP. I work in an outpatient setting, and I honestly don't use most of the skills I learned in the RN portion of my program. That is not to say they aren't valuable-I think any type of patient care experience enhances your abilities. In my experience, I found that a certain amount of RN experience isn't neccessary to succeed in an NP program and to work as an NP. Just my 2 cents!!
    knnyz, ImThatGuy, and StephieRN_1216 like this.
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    Thanks BC, well the reason for the wait was b/c I spoke to the Director of the FNP program and she said she HIGHLY advised 2 years of experience. I graduated from an accelerated program and came from a totally different field (business) so I don't have LVN or CNA or any hospital experience. She told me that in FNP school they assume you know certain nursing skills. She said a IMC unit is best. Well I am totally flustered in taking care of 6 patients and rarely get a bathroom break let alone time to review charts, figure things out etc. so I want a job that will enable me to do more critical thinking. I would LOVE to enter an FNP program soon but want to make sure I am confident when I graduate and want to make sure I know my stuff and I am not struggeling b/c of the lack of nursing experience. I am wondering, do FNP's have to do nursing tasks like insert IV, NG tubes, foley's etc??
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    PS: Also I was told I needed doctor's recommendations. When the heck do I have time to network with doctor's or get to know them on night shift! So I don't know what type of recommendations I need to get me into that program.
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    I just graduated from an FNP program. I have said this before, so this will not come as a surprise. The NP educational model is not, in my humble opinion, adequate training, by itself, for the provider working in most environments. It simply falls way short in the hard sciences.

    I feel that solid RN experience,with really sick patients, is an essential piece of the NP educational process.


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