Dilemma!!! Continue ACNP or...

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    Well, I will cut the story short but I was enrolled in an ACNP program and took about a year off (family issues). I reapplied and just found out today that I was accepted. I currently work on a cardiothoracic tele floor (basically PCU with 4-5 pts). CABG pts fresh out of ICU, thoractomy pts, and other tele overflow. I am not sure if I should continue the ACNP program or switch to FNP. I worked ICU as a new grad but only for 1 1/2 years. It has been 3 years since. I don't want to work in ICU as an NP but it seems like that is a factor with the ACNP degree. Please give me some insight.
    Also, I currently work TDA (Sat/Sun) nights. I am so ready to get off this shift because I have a 3 year old and I'm missing my weekend family time. I picked this shift because of my schooling but I just wanted to hear from RNs that work other shifts and able to maintain in school. I have 1 more core class and then will begin clinicals. Any suggestions about shifts....I don't mind working some weekends I'm just tired of working every weekend.

    Please Help. It will be greatly appreciated!!!
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    What are your long term career goals and family goals ? I can only answer for FNP, but I gotta say my part-time job is wonderful with family. As your child gets older, it gets BUSIER and you will ache to be home on the weekends with your kids.
    tryingtohaveitall likes this.
  5. 1
    Yeah that's the problem I saw with the ACNP... you pretty much will work in the hospital setting and you will work what the standard schedule is for the NPs. At my hospital it is 5 on and 5 off, so definitely some weekends, but not all. They also do not take any call, which is a plus. I went thru this decision process as well and have decided on getting the FNP, more marketable overall as well as the most likely to get me a job with normal hours, no holidays, no weekends, etc. I am tired of missing every other Christmas and Thanksgiving and every other holiday. I want to enjoy my kids and be there for all their stuff.

    As far as your schedule and clinical, I think working the weekends is excellent! That gives you all week to get your clinical experience, not that this matters if you are doing clinicals in a hospital setting, but it definitely matters when you do clinicals in a clinic setting that is not open on the weekends. I work every Mon, Tue, Fri (used to work weekends and wish I had that spot back for school reasons) and I will more than likely cut down to PRN during clinical so I can get my hours in as I will need those weekdays to do it!

    Good Luck with your decision. Just decide what's most important to you NOW. If you want more family time and flexibility, go FNP. You can always go back and get a post master's in the ACNP later on down the road when your kids are a bit bigger. They are only young once!
    sailornurse likes this.
  6. 0
    [quote=msleely;5257479 i don't want to work in icu as an np but it seems like that is a factor with the acnp degree. please give me some insight. [/quote]

    it is my understanding that as an acute care np you mostly work in a hospital icu but i could be wrong. acnp is the newest np specialty so as more acnps are hired you may see them in different area such as er??? but in the er you see lots of kids so i don't know if your patient focus and education is on hospitalized adults? fnp's we are mostly outpatient primary care and you can specialize. i know fnp that works for a cardiologist, some work in er's, most in clinics, urgent care settings and yes it is the most marketable fo np specialities. some fnp's only work peds, some only in women's health.

    sailornurse, msn, fnp
  7. 0
    Thanks for the replies. My goal is to work with cardiac pts in a clinic setting and also round in the hospital. I would prefer not to be solely in the hospital but that option is not a bad idea either. I have started looking into 7a-7p positions with the hopes of still working some weekends but I am just so over working every weekend. TDA is a nice shift because I still get paid full time, benefits and tuition reimbursement but I don't want to do it any longer. I just don't want to make the wrong decision especially since I will be starting back to school after a year off.
  8. 0
    You should be able to do what you want to do with the FNP, you can work with a cardiologist and in most states, round on patients.
  9. 0
    The ACNP is not confined to the hospital setting. My internal medicine doctor only employs ACNPs in his office. He sees only adults. I also know of cardiologists who employ ACNPs to see patients in clinic and the hospital setting. You will not be able to see the peds population as an ACNP though. Not sure if that is of interest to you. I just wanted to emphasize that ACNP does not equal hospital only.
  10. 0
    It probably would be a good idea to keep up with your ICU experience
    since you are in the acute care program....most likely as an acute care NP you will be inserting
    chest tubes, CVP lines, swans, and general critical care management.
    I work in ICU but decided on the FNP program because it is something different and new.
    Working every weekend with a 3 year old is really tough, sometimes one has to sit down and
    make a list of priorities....does your happiness and family life come first? or
    are you having to please the management where you work...or do you feel you have no choices???
    I would sit down and make a dream list...what makes you happy...and go from there....
  11. 1
    At this point I have decided to continue with the ACNP program. I am taking 2 classes in the Fall and they are universal to all of the NP programs. I will probably talk with the dean of the program when the semester begins to make a final decision. I am still on my TDA shift but debating on doing PRN. The great thing about the TDA shift is that I still qualify for tuition reimbursement which is $5200 for the year. The health benefits are not a big deal since my husband covers everything else. The only thing is PRN staffing is the first to be cancelled and if I switch I will really need the money to pay my tuition. So, I guess I'm still having issues, but I know something will work out. I appreciate all of the comments.
    CCRNDiva likes this.
  12. 1
    Quote from canyonforest
    It probably would be a good idea to keep up with your ICU experience
    since you are in the acute care program....most likely as an acute care NP you will be inserting
    chest tubes, CVP lines, swans, and general critical care management.
    This may be the case if you are an ACNP that works specifically in the ICU. However, there are a lot of ACNP positions that do not require ICU management. I know of a variety of setting that ACNPs can work...

    Not wanting to be disagreeable but I just know that many of my colleagues in my ACNP program have worked with ACNP in a variety of settings. While it is focused on acute care, it does not always mean ICU care.
    CCRNDiva likes this.


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