Advice on how to get into an FNP program/ Best Pre-FNP experience

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    I'm a fairly recent BSN graduate with a year of experience in a great Cardiothoracic ICU. My year on the CTICU is my only nursing experience, and I would like to apply to FNP school within the next year. Although I'm certain that experience on my unit is the fast track to becoming a CRNA or Acute Care NP, I'm not wondering if it will be considered relevant experience for FNP school. I recently noticed one of the programs I'm considering applying to requires ONE YEAR of primary care experience, which is really what got me wondering if I'm on the right track. I thought ICU experience would be best, because I figured if I could learn to take care of ICU patients as a new grad the challenge would prepare me for FNP school. I've heard ER experience is useful, but I worked as tech in an ER and I loathed it, and the increased patient to nurse ratio intimidates me. I'm happy at my current job but I've always wanted to go back to school quickly, so I'm absolutely willing to switch gears and get different experience if that's what I need to get into an FNP program. My question is, will my CTICU experience be considered relevant for FNP school or do I need to get a primary care or urgent care/ED job in order to have a shot at getting in?
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  4. 6 Comments so far...

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    Welcome to AN! The largest online nursing community!

    Your post was moved for pre-nurse practitioner inquiry for best response
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    I think there are two different questions in play. First, what will the schools see as needed for you to be a good candidate for their program. Second, what experience do you feel you need to be able to learn and apply what you need to know to be a good practitioner.

    The first question can only be answered by researching what the programs your interested in require. In my research, I don't recall seeing programs that would be turned off by ICU experience, but I could be wrong.

    The second question, only you can answer. I didn't work in an ICU prior to NP school (ER), so I can't say what experience and knowledge your gaining, but I would guess your learning valuable information about severe acute and chronic conditions that you will assess and treat (hopefully sooner) when you are treating pt in clinic as a NP. If that's the case, I don't see why that experience would not be very valuable. Now, do you have experience/knowledge about the rest of the job? About the less critical pts? How concerned are you about your lack of knowledge in these other areas? Do you feel the programs your researching will provide you with sufficient knowledge in these other areas?
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    I currently work in a SICU and had 2 girls graduate with FNP degrees after working in SICU their entire careers (they're fairly young as well) and both had job offers before graduation. I can't guarantee the schools you're looking at will be the same though
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    My only RN experience is in the NICU (18 months) which I think is the furthest RN position possible from FNP, but I just got accepted to an FNP program. I plan on getting a new job in ER or ICU to refamiliarize myself with the adult population. I'll work that job thru school just to feel better about my experience...the school I am going to though didn't mind my NICU background at all. I think you'll get a lot of applicable experience in your current position.
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    I graduated from an FNP program in 2009, so not so long ago. My class was small 14-20 students depending on the semester. We had nurses in the class with a variety of background from psych nurse, geriatrics, women's health, med/surg. So your back ground to get into the program is not important. I will say, and this is based on my personal experience and nothing more, is the folks that worked in the ER or ICU had a SLIGHTLY easier time because they were used to working more independently with standing orders and making quick emergency decisions. (this is not to say other nurses don't but ask a floor nurse they hate the ER and put me on the floor and I flounder -it is just a different focus). Most did well, some just had to study more because where they worked typically had a single focus and the medications they use have the focus of that specialty. Example the psych nurse did not have a strong background in primary care medications. Almost everyone in my classes did well it was just the amount of time they had to dedicate to studying.

    In other words, the nursing background is not important just be sure to allot enough time to studying the things you haven't been exposed to a lot.
    zmansc likes this.
  10. 0
    Hi, I was wondering what FNP program you are attending! I have been a NICU RN for 5 years and want to go to back to school. I read so many posts about people not being able to get into programs. Any info you can give me would be great! Thanks!


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