Preparing to apply to NP programs

  1. 0
    Hi! I'm a newly licensed nurse, set to start my first job as an RN in a Pennsylvania hospital facility on a medical-oncology unit. Eventually I plan to go back to school for nurse practitioner, with a focus on FNP. I'm looking for advice to maximize my real-world experience, be as attractive to FNP programs as I possibly can, and just general advice to prepare myself.

    I would absolutely want a year or two of experience under my belt prior to applying to programs, both because I'd want experience before starting something more advanced, and because most programs require experience. I previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, so the BSN was my 2nd degree. I'd like to get married and start a family, but not until I'm finished with school, which is why I'm looking for tips to maximize my time preparing to enter the last phase of my educational goals.

    I look forward to your input!
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Apply and start now. Just take one class a semester. Dont wait you will probrably regret it.
    NJnewRN likes this.
  5. 0
    A few of my fellow new nurses are registered to start taking graduate classes. My major concern with that is how much my current lack of experience will impact my ability to work through more advanced courses? Or do you think it wouldn't have that much of an impact?

    Thank you for the tip... I'll probably start looking into programs that would work with me, and try a class to start. I'm excited to finalize my educational goals!
  6. 0
    My take on is it is imagine when you first began nursing school. If you were like me you didnt no barely anything and everything was new and overwhelming. Im sure graduate school will be the same. You will learn what you need to learn in the class and if you work while you go to school you will gain that knowledge as well. Even if you only take one class a semester you can finish in 4 to 5 years, maybe even shorter. But if you wait that is jst that much longer it will take you to finish.
  7. 0
    Quote from PA_RN87
    Hi! I'm a newly licensed nurse, set to start my first job as an RN in a Pennsylvania hospital facility on a medical-oncology unit. Eventually I plan to go back to school for nurse practitioner, with a focus on FNP. I'm looking for advice to maximize my real-world experience, be as attractive to FNP programs as I possibly can, and just general advice to prepare myself.

    I would absolutely want a year or two of experience under my belt prior to applying to programs, both because I'd want experience before starting something more advanced, and because most programs require experience. I previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology, so the BSN was my 2nd degree. I'd like to get married and start a family, but not until I'm finished with school, which is why I'm looking for tips to maximize my time preparing to enter the last phase of my educational goals.

    I look forward to your input!
    I would say get some experience first. Yes I. NP school you will learn the aspects of becoming an NP but a great NP learns off of his/her experiences as a nurse. You should have the nursing foundation first and as you said most schools will require you to do so anyway, that's for a reason. Good luck to you!!
  8. 3
    I am currently in the second semester of a FNP program and DO YOUR SELF A FAVOR AND GET 1-2 YEARS OF EXPIRENCE FIRST!!! Those of us with a few year under our belt just seem to get the concepts better and know the meds faster. There are a handful of people who jumped right in after nursing school and they are struggling bigtime. Just knowing the generic and trade names, or how to care for a GI bleed patient in the hospital, or knowing what a patient in DKA smells and acts like makes grad school so much easier. The few years you spend just working as a nurse with save you hours and hours of agonizing study time in the future.
  9. 0
    Thank you everyone for the advice! I'm excited to start on the floor this week
  10. 1
    I think you should apply to school when you feel ready. There is no set amount of time needed for everyone. If you are extremely motivated and spend time learning as much as you can every week, it will not take you 2 years to get enough experience.

    Since you asked for what you can do now to help you later here are my suggestions:

    1. Wake up an extra 30-60 min. before work and call work to find out what diagnoses you have that day. Quickly look up those diagnoses, etiology, diagnostic criteria and treatment. That way when you get to work, you will pick up on why they are getting certain therapies and you will learn that content quicker.

    2. When you're at work continue to look up the lab values of your patients. Know why a test was order and what the results mean. Understand how to interpret a CBC, not just looking at H&H, WBCs and PLT.

    3. As you have time at work, look up every medication and learn them. And not just the basics. Yes, vancomycin is an antibiotic, but what is it good at killing? How does it work? What are the side effects? What labs do you need to watch for a patient that is on that medication? Are there EKG changes that you need to watch for with it? How is it dosed?

    4. Lastly, work on your assessment skills. Any time you hear of a patient with an abnormal finding, ask if you can go assess them. For example, the patient in the room next to mine had a gallop, so I asked if I could go listen to her. I had never heard a gallop before, but after hearing that one, I know what to listen for now. No amount of simulation or videos can teach you what you learn in a real clinical scenario. Take advantage of every opportunity you have.

    I applied to NP school after being a nurse for 5 months. I have continued to work full-time while going to school part-time. I do not feel like I have needed any more clinical experience than that. Sure extra doesn't hurt, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference. The NP role is different enough that you need to spend a lot of time studying regardless of your prior nursing experience. But I am constantly spending extra time trying to learn everything I can. Not everyone wants to do that. You just need to figure out what you feel comfortable with and go with that. Good luck with your orientation!
    CaliforniaKid88 likes this.


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