NICU RN to FNP or PNP?

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    I'm thinking of going back to school this fall to finish my NP (I took a leave of absence from a DE program). I've been working as an RN for a year and a half now with a year of experience with adults and 6 months in the NICU. I enjoy the NICU and working with infants and hope to continue working there while in school. However, I'm not sure if I like the idea of the limited patient population that comes along with being a PNP. It seems like FNPs have much more flexibility to change specialties and a much easier time finding jobs. Has anyone gone from a NICU RN to FNP? Are there FNPs out there that work only in peds? Would my limited experience with adults make it harder for me to find a job in family practice? Does anyone regret becoming a PNP over an FNP? I would love to hear others experiences and career paths.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    great post. I am actually in the exact same position (experience and all!) but I actually am a Labor and Delivery RN. Any responses to the original post are appreciated. Thanks!
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    I think the best way to approach this is to think about what you really want to do and what you enjoy the most. FNP will give you more job options, but would you be happy in a position where you are mainly or only managing adults? If your main interest is working with kids and that's your priority, you might want to do stick with PNP. An FNP degree isn't a ton more hours than a PNP degree, yet the amount of information you're required to know is a lot more. So, you end up learning a little about a lot of stuff. Whereas, since the PNP is more focused, you will learn a lot more depth to the content. You are also much more likely to be considered for a pediatric position if you are a PNP. I could within a large children's hospital system and we have a ton of PNPs. I've never seen an FNP. So it really depends on what you want to do most.
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    In what type of setting do you want to practice? A Family NP is a primary care role and your training will be in primary care setting. Some employers are currently limiting where primary care NPs (adult, family and pediatric) NPs can practice and preventing them from working in inpatient or specialty clinic setting. Several state are also considering amending their Nurse Practice Acts to limit the work setting of primary care NPs to primary care settings.

    There are two types of Pediatric NP certifications: Acute Care PNP and Primary Care PNP. If you true love is one of those settings, then that is what you should pursue. Similarly, if you love inpatient and acute care adults, then you should pursue an Adult-Gero Acute Care NP program. If you want to spend your time in the much-needed area of primary care, then pursue a primary care NP. But do not presume that you can float between primary and acute care; the two settings are very different and an advanced practitioner in Acute Care Adults cannot be expected to be qualified in primary care as well by pursuing one MSN program.
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    I'm doing a PNP program. The way I looked at it was that I don't want to have adult patients...ever. So I'm doing PNP. I need to go with the patient population that I really want to work with.

    FYI...I'm an L&D RN and IBCLC.
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    I'm in a PNP primary care program and I come from an adult cardiac background. I hated adults and i love the focus of primary care. kids are awesome too. Here is my experience-- if you ONLY want peds, do PNP. More likely to get hired by a pediatric practice with PNP than FNP. But that is just a blanket statement-- may be untrue in some places with less access to care. Also, and keep in mind this is one experience, the clinical site I have has both PNPs anD FNPs. The FNPs are always begging to see ped patients but their schedules are always full with adults. Do what you love! Good luck!


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