What type of nursing experience is best for becoming an NP?

  1. I'm a new BSN grad, and I'm starting the 2-year NP program next month. I would assume that a Med/Surg background would be preferred for NPs, but I have the oppurtunity to work in the OR, which is what I'd rather do. I work on the Med/Surg floor now as a tech and I REALLY don't like it. I hope to do lots of different things with my degree, but I don't want to mess up by specializing so early on... and I doubt my OR knowledge would be related to things in the NP field.

    So...What type of nursing background is preferred for Nurse Practitioners? Or does it even matter? And to all the NPs...what's your pre-NP experience?

    Maybe I should switch to Clinical Nurse Specialist...any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    AlisonBSN
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hi Alison and welcome. What do you want to do with your NP? Will it be FNP, Adult Care, Acute Care, Peds? With that answered, that should guide you in what type of experience you will want to have. I am an adult health CNS but my job is that of an NP. I work in chronic dialysis and see pts who have ESRD. I do all the medical management of them.
  4. by   sirI
    Quote from AlisonBSN
    I'm a new BSN grad, and I'm starting the 2-year NP program next month. I would assume that a Med/Surg background would be preferred for NPs, but I have the oppurtunity to work in the OR, which is what I'd rather do. I work on the Med/Surg floor now as a tech and I REALLY don't like it. I hope to do lots of different things with my degree, but I don't want to mess up by specializing so early on... and I doubt my OR knowledge would be related to things in the NP field.

    So...What type of nursing background is preferred for Nurse Practitioners? Or does it even matter? And to all the NPs...what's your pre-NP experience?

    Maybe I should switch to Clinical Nurse Specialist...any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    AlisonBSN
    Hello, AlisonBSN and welcome to allnurses.com

    traumaRUs is correct. You need to decide what specialty area you enjoy. Also, you need to see just exactly what your area will bear. Some are over-saturated with certain specialty areas and others do not consider certain specialty areas at all. In my area, the FNP is in large demand, but the ACNP, PNP, NNP are not.

    No, Med-Surg is not a blanket preference. If you are interested in peds and PNP, then you need to seek a position in peds/PICU. Or, if your interests lie in women's health, a position in OB/GYN. If you prefer emergency care, then work in the ED/trauma ED and seek the ACNP/trauma NP/CNS. I started out OB-GYN NP and later added FNP so I could be more marketable. There are programs with dual certifications in specialty areas and programs for dual NP/CNS, too.

    Good luck with your decision/s. And, glad to have you here with us. Enjoy the site.
  5. by   fnimat1
    Hello everyone,
    I am also interested in an answer to the first poster. I want to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. How much experience should I seek after I finish my BSN program? Or should I just start my MSN program right after?

    Fatima
    "Waving from Seton Hall"
  6. by   sirI
    Hello, fnimat1,

    You should seek a position in the NICU if you are desiring specialty as NNP. Definitetly not wise to go straight to MSN program without prior RN experience. Most NNP programs require that as well. As for how much, you would need to ask this of your NNP program.
  7. by   AlisonBSN
    I originally thought that I would need experience before starting the MSN program, but they said that the first year is non-clinical and they encourage students to start immediately after graduation on a part-time basis while getting their first year of RN experience.

    But that's just my school. I'm sure it's not like that everywhere.

    AlisonBSN
  8. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from fnimat1
    Hello everyone,
    I am also interested in an answer to the first poster. I want to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. How much experience should I seek after I finish my BSN program? Or should I just start my MSN program right after?

    Fatima
    "Waving from Seton Hall"

    You need at least 2 years of NICU experience to begin ANY (legitimate) NNP program. Without the 2 years of experience, not only would you be a very unattractive candidate for an NNP position, but you would be ineligible to take the NNP certification exam.

    Besides, how would you really know that you want to be an NNP if you have never worked as an RN in a NICU? I thought I wanted to be an NNP, but after a few years in the NICU, I changed my mind and decided to become an FNP instead.
  9. by   USC2001
    I would reccommend getting experience before starting an MSN program. I just finished my FNP program (yesterday, actually, I graduated). When I started I had 2yrs experience in L&D. I then switched to Home Health for the past yr. Its not impossible by any means, but you could tell a difference between the RNs in the program with at least 2yrs and the ones who went straight out of school. I think they had a harder time grasping and remembering some things because they did not have the work experience to relate to.
    On another note I would highly reccomend Home Health to anyone considering FNP or Adult NP. I have learned so much and seen so much in my year in HH. It is also helpful to be on your own and teaches you independence. Good Luck!
  10. by   traumaRUs
    Usc2001 - Congratulations!!!!
  11. by   prairienp
    Quote from USC2001
    I would reccommend getting experience before starting an MSN program. I just finished my FNP program (yesterday, actually, I graduated). When I started I had 2yrs experience in L&D. I then switched to Home Health for the past yr. Its not impossible by any means, but you could tell a difference between the RNs in the program with at least 2yrs and the ones who went straight out of school. I think they had a harder time grasping and remembering some things because they did not have the work experience to relate to.
    On another note I would highly reccomend Home Health to anyone considering FNP or Adult NP. I have learned so much and seen so much in my year in HH. It is also helpful to be on your own and teaches you independence. Good Luck!
    I would agree, home health is excellent. Walk-in clinics, Community health clinics and EDs are also great for clinical prep.
  12. by   BrandyNP
    Quote from AlisonBSN
    I'm a new BSN grad, and I'm starting the 2-year NP program next month. I would assume that a Med/Surg background would be preferred for NPs, but I have the oppurtunity to work in the OR, which is what I'd rather do. I work on the Med/Surg floor now as a tech and I REALLY don't like it. I hope to do lots of different things with my degree, but I don't want to mess up by specializing so early on... and I doubt my OR knowledge would be related to things in the NP field.

    So...What type of nursing background is preferred for Nurse Practitioners? Or does it even matter? And to all the NPs...what's your pre-NP experience?

    Maybe I should switch to Clinical Nurse Specialist...any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    AlisonBSN
    Working as a RN in a hospital setting is very different from working as a NP in primary care. If you are planning on working in primary care, then you would want to work in a doctor's office to gain that experience. If you are planning on going into an Acute Care NP program, then the hospital job would be great. One thing I would like to comment on though, I'm certified in both Adult and Geriatrics and when I graduated I went straight into pain management. That was the WRONG thing to do. I ended up leaving because I was losing clinical skills and medical knowledge by specializing so soon after graduation. A NP I used to work with did the same thing, although she stayed in pain management. Her boss is closing his practice and there aren't any other PM docs in town who utilize midlevels. She is an Adult NP and she is going to have a very tough time finding a job in primary care because she has been out of it for so long.
  13. by   BrandyNP
    Quote from fnimat1
    Hello everyone,
    I am also interested in an answer to the first poster. I want to become a neonatal nurse practitioner. How much experience should I seek after I finish my BSN program? Or should I just start my MSN program right after?

    Fatima
    "Waving from Seton Hall"
    From what I understand, as of January 2005, all NNP's who sit for the boards MUST have a minimum of 2 years of neonatal nursing experience. This is a national requirement for certification. I believe it is the only certification that requires prior nursing experience.
  14. by   lesrn2005
    usc 2001 - A BIG CONGRATS TO YOU! I currently struggle with going for my fnp license - have done rn transitions into the programs for 1st semester so far. I'm a RN for almost 2 yrs, now, worked med-surg for 9 mos. (that's all I could take on a critical care med-surg floor), and have been hospice case manager for 11 mos. I work homes and facilities. That should be enough, eh?, to get me thru fnp?

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