I am thinking about whether I want to apply for a psych NP program that starts directly after my BSN program ends (I'm a traditional college age student), or working for a year before applying. I'm not asking about whether I would have the knowledge necessary to be an NP without first being an RN, but rather if it's possible for me to be mature enough. At jobs I've had before I always felt like I made a lot of mistakes starting out and don't want to feel that way as an NP. Then again, I've never had a job that required 500 hours of practice before starting. Any thoughts/experiences would be appreciated.
Jan 10, '13
That's such a personal decision it's really only you who can decide. I've met very seasoned RNs who were quite immature, very thoughtful and introspective new grads, etc. As far as I can tell, a new grad NP is pretty much always terrified, regardless or age or level of RN experience... you're still a brand new NP.
Jan 10, '13
It doesn't hurt to work for a year, whereas, going to NP school when you're not ready (for whatever reason) could make your life really miserable. You don't want to feel in over your head. Yes, all new NPs will feel uncomfortable when they start, but there are unacceptable levels of comfort. I cannot imagine trying to learn everything in NP school without practice experience. It just makes learning the content that much easier. I only had 8 months experience when I started school, but have continued to work full-time during my program. I'm really glad I didn't go straight through.
Jan 11, '13
I disagree. Go for it. Your brain is young and pliable now. You will absorb the new information like a sponge. I am a recently graduated NP, with RN experience, and in my early 30s. Trust me, NP work is a totally different ball of wax. Sometimes, I feel my RN experience has actually caused me difficulty with regards to roll transition.
However, be prepared to look and feel stupid as a new NP. Its part of the learning process...as my husband reminds me daily
Jan 30, '13
I applied and started my MSN/FNP program right after my BSN. Some people did not agree with it, while others applauded me. I have worked on the CV/neuro OR team and spent 2.5 years in the SICU while in school. I will admit that the lack of RN knowledge has minimally affected my current clinical practice but I did go to school part time to make up for the lack of experience. Have a open mind, study hard and you will be rewarded. My wife and I went through the program together. We are a young couple with no children. The best advice my parents gave was to get my education and get it early. If you say that you will go back in 5 years... Think... Will you? Hope this helps, post if you have any questions.
Jan 30, '13
IMO, making the notoriously difficult and stressful transition from nursing student to practicing nurse is difficult enough by itself without also starting a new degree program at the same time.
Also, plenty of people start and/or finish nursing school sure that they know what specialty they want to pursue only to find, after they've been in Nursing World for a while, that they're more interested in something else entirely. Most people are entirely unaware of the vast array of career paths and roles available within nursing until they're in nursing. I've known a few people (and I'm sure the fe individuals I've known personally are not the only people who've ended up in this situation) who either entered nursing through a direct-entry MSN program or rushed into grad school right after basic nursing school who ended up finding out, after they had acquired an expensive graduate degree and the career path to go with it (and student loans to pay for it), that they didn't like doing what the degree had prepared them to do. Graduate degrees in nursing, unlike "regular" nursing school, pretty much lock you into a specific professional role/path. I think it's a mistake to commit to a particular role in nursing until you've really had an opportunity to see what all is "out there" and whether you really like, in real life, what you thought you would like before you got any actual experience.
And plenty of us do go back to school later -- I went to grad school years after I first graduated and got licensed (when I got to the point that I felt I had done all I could do as a staff nurse in my specialty, and moving into advanced practice was the next obvious step).
Jan 30, '13
Prepare yourself for a steeper learning curve the first year to year and a half.I've seen it done by a peer of mine at a previous clinic. Smart gal, but smarts doesn't measure up to tacit knowledge learned in the field.After that first year she was solid. Still with weak points but definitely had a handle on things.Best thing to tell you is to embrace your knowledge, or lack of, your first year out.Seek out answers to your questions. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know."
Feb 2, '13
I completely agree with Elkpark. I work with a woman who only wanted to do CRNA school. It was the reason she went to nursing school and got a job in an ICU. Now after working in the ICU, she's realizing how much she loves working with the patients, which she wouldn't do as a CRNA. So, she is no longer sure what she wants to do. There is just no reason to rush into school. If you want to do it, you will. I work with 3 nurses who are in school and pregnant, one who is trying to get pregnant and starting school and another who is planning to start school after her baby is born. Managing life, school and work can be done if you want to do it.
Feb 4, '13
I know many people who always thought they would go back for their masters (or whatever) but never did because life/kids/family/etc. got in the way. If you're in the space where you can go get your advanced degree now, I would do it. You can always work as a floor nurse with your MSN, if you want to get the floor nurse experience. This happens very commonly around here. And I dunno that advanced degrees is nursing necessarily "lock" you in, I see a lot of NPs who are dually licensed, becauase they later decided to do something else. I think it takes about a year to get a postmasters certificate. I dunno. There are pluses and minuses either way, so consider how you see the trajectory of your career/life plans and go from there.
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