Role Transition

  1. There was a post earlier about how it was easier to make the role transition from RN to NP with less time as a nurse. I have been an RN for about 10 years with the last three in home health. I am taking some pre-req's now and will be starting RN-BSN in the summer. That takes 3 semesters then I plan on working toward my MSN/FNP.

    What type of role transition are you referring to. Is it the fact that as a NP, you become the end of the line as far as decisions go? As a nurse we assess and basically report findings awaiting a final decision from provider. Is that it? Do you think that because of my role in home health I may have an easier transition? In home health you're pretty much on your own. I also do some hospice and there you're really really on your own with much leeway in meds, etc.

    Any input greatly appreciated.

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    Joined: Nov '02; Posts: 349; Likes: 5


  3. by   FNP grrl
    hi traveler- i think my comment may be the one you are referring to. let me see if i can clarify.

    first of all, i am an FNP who had 10+ years of ER nursing experience prior to starting grad school, and i don't regret one day of all that nursing experience. my background in ER nursing was absolutely INVALUABLE & i believe made my grad school experience easier than some of my peers who had less experience, or at least less broad medical exposure. additionally, ER nurses tend to be able to act with a lot of autonomy AND get very familiar working closely w/ docs as peers/partners- both of which were also valuable FNP preparation. so- i am not saying that less nursing experience can make it easier for you to become an NP in general.

    the 'role transition' i was referring to has to do with changing from someone who receives orders (no matter how autonomous the RN, ultimately the RN is NOT the primary provider) to the primary provider. in other words, there really is a world of difference between the RN and NP role; NPs practice medicine, imo. i would say NPs practice medicine from the framework of nursing though- which is a different animal than straight medicine. still---in my experience, i feel like i have more in common w/ the ER docs now (as far as my role) than i do the ER nurses- my peers for many years. diagnosing & treating medical conditions- giving 'orders' and Rxing- all from the medical realm.

    somone who has been a bedside nurse for a long, long time MIGHT have more difficulty making this adjustment & shifting from the purely nursing mentality to the medical model (albeit a NURSING-shaped medical model)....i have seen that be an issue among some of my peers & it was a bit of an issue for me. conversely, some NPs i have known who had only 1-2 years of nsg experience fould it easier to jump into the new role- they weren't so strongly identified w/ the nurse role- in fact, some of them went to nsg school specifically to become NPs so they always had that focus- not true for lots of us who worked as bedside nurses for years before deciding to pursue the NP route.

    it's kind of a trade-off, really. and i think it can work either way- but the role transition issues were worth it for me in exchange for all the wonderful experience i had. i hope that clarifies my comment. and if you are interested in more specifics about 'NP role change' issues, there is plenty of stuff in the nsg literature about it- just do a search.

    good luck in your chosen path!
  4. by   kohlem
    This is a HOT TOPIC to me for 2 reasons: 1) I am soon to step into the role, completing my MSN shortly. I share an ER background with one of the posters and I agree that the autonomy of the ER RN role and the collegial relationships existing between MD's and staff have been helpful developmentally. However, I also agree the transition is a huge leap from the traditional nursing role; and I'm wondering if there is a direct correlation between length of time in a role (the endearing characteristics of the role in which we are socialized into) and the challenges to transition into the advanced role. I would never argue that my knowledge/experience give me a huge edge over some of my peers, but having been in the role for 20 years poses some unique challenges.

    2) I happen to be looking at transition in the form of qualitative research, so I am very interested in this discussion, particulary by NP's who have struggled through that first year!