RN to FNP, time for experience...

  1. 0
    hello,
    i have one year left before i graduate with my rn, bsn and would like to continue my education to attain my fnp license. i've recently learned that most places do not hire new-grads part-time (usually only full time). my original plan was to work part-time while attaining my fnp. i don't think i can handle working full-time and attend school full-time, especially with two young children. so, my question is what do you all think i shall do? i want to finish my school while i"m in the groove and preferably not wait a while after i graduate this school. some say i should work full-time for a year as an rn, then go back to school to attain my fnp. some recommend me do home health of some sort while attaining my fnp, but i want to ensure i get adequate nursing experience. how did you all plan your education with nursing experience? did any of you go straight from rn school to np school?

    my second question is: once i attain my fnp, if i wanted to work under my rn license instead of my fnp license, is that possible? or do i have to work as an fnp? the reason i ask due to job opportunities (in the specialty area of my interest).

    thank you for all of your advice!
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Well, first congrats on your upcoming graduation.

    Second, going to grad school, then working as an FNP is going to leave you at a distinct disadvantage when you want to work as an FNP later on: you won't be a new grad, but you won't be experienced either.

    If you want to work as an RN, I would do that first, THEN pursue the FNP.
  5. 1
    I can only speak from my experience as a new grad BSN. I too thought that I wanted to go straight through to a FNP program. I applied to the FNP program through the school were I received my BSN and was accepted. However, I found that the stress and learning curve for a new BSN grad is tremendous. I didn't feel like I could concentrate on studies while working so hard to learn to be a new nurse. So, I declined my acceptance and opted to wait a couple of semesters. I have now been on the job as a new RN for 7 months and am finally getting somewhat comfortable...... but glad I still have time before I enroll in a masters program. For me, it has been tough as a new grad RN. Lots to learn and tons of stress! This is just my experience!
    txspadequeenRN likes this.
  6. 0
    I want to do the same thing as the OP, but I will work for a year if I'm able to find job. If I can't find a new grad position, I plan to enroll in graduate school. My professor was telling my leadership class that it can take at least a year or more for a BSN graduate to feel comfortable as a new nurse. That's something to consider also, just as lweatherby mentioned. I would probably work full time and go to school part time for the first year just to get adjusted to being a nurse.
  7. 0
    Thank you all. I think it would probably be best for me to find a full-time position (especially since very few are hiring part-timers) when I graduate. Then, as I am gaining experience as a new-grad, I can go to school part time, as the last poster, TRR8021, stated. Once I've gained about a year of experience, then I can pick up my school and attend full time to get done a bit quicker. The only issue is that if I attend only part-time, it may affect the whole student loan issue (not quite sure how that works with a Graduate program).

    I also would like to work in women's health, such as Postpartum. Since the economy has gone downhill lately, I've heard that hiring new grads, especially where I'm at, in Arizona, has become almost non-existent. What do we new-grad's need to do?

    Where do I go and take my FNP exam once I graduate the FNP program?

    Also, once I attain my FNP license, how do I attain my women's health specialty certification? Any websites I can be referred to?

    Thank you for answering my tons of questions!
  8. 1
    FNP and WHNP are TWO DIFFERENT programs - so if you want to do WHNP, that's the program you want to go to. Whereas, if you want to do FNP, then you attend an FNP program.
    happy2learn likes this.
  9. 0
    I thought units loved part time workers, at least old one did. Nothing better than people working who you don't have to give benefits was the general idea.
  10. 2
    Just to answer some of your questions, you can obtain financial aid as a "half-time" student. I believe you have to be enrolled and have 5 or more credits per semester to receive aid, though. I attended grad school part-time and did receive financial aid. As long as you take two courses per semester, you should meet that "half-time" qualification, since most courses are 3-credits.

    As far as doing women's health - you can do this as a FNP. My women's health preceptor was a FNP by education but worked with an OB/GYN. She also picked up two shifts per month as a FNP so she could renew her FNP certification when the time came. If you desire more options/flexibility/marketability after your NP program, I would go the FNP route.

    Just on a personal note, I am a HUGE believer in gaining a few years of RN experience before considering NP school. Reason being, you might find you enjoy a totally different area of nursing then what you thought you might like initially; it makes it easier for you as a new grad NP to market yourself if you have a few years of RN experience; it provides you with a strong assessment background that can only be obtained on the job. Anyone can learn the "typical" signs and symptoms of various diagnoses from a textbook - it takes a strong clinician with excellent assessment skills and a broad knowledge base to pick up on the sometimes subtle and atypical presenting signs and symptoms of a critical diagnosis that should not be missed.
    MystyqueOne and LoveANurse09 like this.
  11. 1
    Well...I am currently in the situation. I have been a nurse for almost year in an acute setting, but I went back to school last year. In my experience, it has made no difference in many aspects. It may in clinical practice when I graduate, but right now I am doing just as well if not better than many people with 20+ years experience.I plan to continue to work as a RN even past passing the FNP boards to gain more knowledge, but I expect the same learning curve transitioning into the new role regardless.
    MystyqueOne likes this.
  12. 0
    Quote from Spacklehead
    Just to answer some of your questions, you can obtain financial aid as a "half-time" student. I believe you have to be enrolled and have 5 or more credits per semester to receive aid, though. I attended grad school part-time and did receive financial aid. As long as you take two courses per semester, you should meet that "half-time" qualification, since most courses are 3-credits.

    As far as doing women's health - you can do this as a FNP. My women's health preceptor was a FNP by education but worked with an OB/GYN. She also picked up two shifts per month as a FNP so she could renew her FNP certification when the time came. If you desire more options/flexibility/marketability after your NP program, I would go the FNP route.

    Just on a personal note, I am a HUGE believer in gaining a few years of RN experience before considering NP school. Reason being, you might find you enjoy a totally different area of nursing then what you thought you might like initially; it makes it easier for you as a new grad NP to market yourself if you have a few years of RN experience; it provides you with a strong assessment background that can only be obtained on the job. Anyone can learn the "typical" signs and symptoms of various diagnoses from a textbook - it takes a strong clinician with excellent assessment skills and a broad knowledge base to pick up on the sometimes subtle and atypical presenting signs and symptoms of a critical diagnosis that should not be missed.
    Thank you VERY much for answering all my questions. I really wanted to do the FNP route vs. the WHNP route, because I don't want to limit my options. I figured I would be able to go into Women's Health as a FNP. Thank you so much. I also agree with you with getting the RN experience. The only thing is that I'm not going to be young forever and i'm in that "motivated" mind-set now and I want to utilize that and get my FNP license. So, my next question (I think I asked in my OP), even once I get my FNP license, can't I still work as an RN to get my experience? I think I'll end up working full time as an RN and attending school part-time like you suggested. As long as I get the student loans and such. I would prefer to work part-time and do school either part-time or full-time.

    I do strongly agree with you that the true knowledge comes from the on-the-job training rather than just the books. I realize that physically working will gain me more knowledge, thus making FNP learning (in-school) a bit more easier on me.

    Thanks again for the wonderful advice!


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