my question to current acnp and students:
1.) are you happy choosing this route instead of fnp?
i am. i love working in hospitals and dealing with acute patient issues. i loved critical care as a staff nurse and being a nurse practitioner in the same settings makes me even happier.
2.) what made you choose this route?
got advice from np's i've talked to when i was a staff nurse. talked to an acnp and an anp program director. i didn't actually consider fnp because the thought of caring for sick kids doesn't appeal to me, neither does women's health or psych. that helped me weigh the pros and cons between primary care and acute care practice. made connections with in-patient np's as a staff nurse and realized that there is somewhat of a demand in the in-patient setting in the job market where i lived.
3.) what is the job market like? what setting do you practice in?
where i went to school and practiced after graduation in the midwest, the job opportunities were there and i didn't have problems getting a job. i work in critical care then and now. where i am now in california, i think the market is a bit saturated though the acnp grads from the local program (which our hospital is affiliated with) seem to get jobs if not locally, within the state (somewhere between san diego and sacramento).
4.) how many years did you work as a nurse before going back to school? is it difficult getting back into the school routine?
roughly 10 years. i didn't find it hard to go back to school after a long absence from it and actually enjoyed the routine of attending classes, studying, and having clinical rotations. it's almost like college again, but with a lot of thirty something's and middle-aged people, at least in my class. being with a class full of experienced icu and ed nurses from various hospitals can be intimidating though. everyone liked to talk about how awesome their icu and ed experience were. there was an element of one-upmanship.
5.) what do you like/dislike about your career?
having to work holidays and picking up some night shifts, maybe. but that's not interfering with my personal life really. i have a lot of time off to have fun and our physician colleagues are jealous of that.
also, any tips on choosing a good program and tips in general would be appreciated. i've read on this websites that fnp have a wider job market. even with that notion, it isn't enough to stir me away from acnp lol. as far as cc experience, i will be working as an nt in the micu with previous cna med/surg and float floor/icu experience. i am thinking about beginning grad school in my late 20s so i have a good foundation of experience to draw upon. thanks!
you should get critical care experience as a staff nurse if you want to get a job in critical care at the very least. i'm not going to debate the benefits of rn experience prior to becoming a nurse practitioner but the fact is, you will be working with icu nurses who can be known for being badass and intimidating to newbies. also, the job market almost calls for it because of the competitive nature of the field -- you'll be competing against acnp applicants who are seasoned icu nurses and not having that experience will hurt your chances.
juan de la cruz, msn, rn, acnp-bc, ccrn-csc
not my real name btw