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Acute care NP programs

Hi all, I'm hoping to get some information from members here about their experiences in different acute care NP programs. I graduated with a BSN in 2013 and currently have about 15 months of experience in a medical ICU at a level one trauma center.

My goal is to become an acute care NP (adult) and hopefully work in an intensivist or hospitalist role. I know there is huge variability throughout the country as far as how NPs are utilized in hospital settings and also the quality of education at different programs. Ideally I want to attend an MSN program that emphasizes patho, pharm, assessment, diagnosis, and clinical time and spends less time on research, theory, paper writing and general "fluff".

With that said, I fully expect that any program I attend will have its fair share of the fluff and the paper writing but, I'm looking for programs that will give me very solid, science based clinical training and that will prepare me to pass boards. I've looked at the curriculums of several programs including Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, University of Florida and others and it's just really hard to tell from just looking at websites what the schooling will be like.

I'm willing to go anywhere for school (as long as the tuition isn't too outrageous) and to go anywhere for a job after graduation. There are so many options and I'm just looking to narrow them somewhat and get the perspective of people that are going through or have gone through acute care NP programs.

Thank you for any help

Edited by aissamojave

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Has 27 years experience. Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

I've been an ACNP since 2003 and have been working in an intensivst role since 2004. I attended a state university in Michigan that is lesser known nationally but well respected in the state if not the region. Things have changed since I was there. I enjoyed the Pharmacology part of the program immensely as it was taught at the School of Pharmacy with hospital-based Pharmacists in various specialties team-teaching the course.

The Pathophysiology course was taught at the School of Medicine with specialist physicians team-teaching but I still found the course too condensed and with very little time to delve deeply into each body system pathology. The lectures went too fast and even the physician lecturers themselves would remark "this 6 hour lecture takes an entire semester in medical school".

The physical assessment course was taught by NP's. Some were great. We had a physical assessment lab with simulation technology that were just at the beginning stages at the time. I'm sure that now, the school has purchased more advanced technologies for simulation. We also had sessions with "pretend" patients from the community in some of the session that involve reproductive assessment. We had a 80-hr clinical rotation in physical assessment where we were assigned a preceptor to do physical exams and differential diagnoses honing skills.

The last year was all clinicals and acute care lectures. There is some leeway as to what specialties we want for our clinicals. Many students did a Cardiology rotation as I also did. The rest of my rotations were in Pulmonary and Critical Care and Emergency Medicine. I got to do some procedures while on clinicals. All of my rotations are within 10 miles of the campus and are in large medical centers and most are in teaching hospitals where I was the student in a team with residents, fellows, and attendings.

I couldn't guarantee that the program is the same at present. There are newer faculty there whom I no longer know anything about. However, it is only one of three programs in the state and is actually the more popular in the area. The program is only offered as a DNP option now.

I've moved out of that state in an area where I work with a team of ACNP's from various schools. I would say that there is variation in knowledge level and skill sets even with NP's from the same program. My co-workers attended UCSF, Columbia, U Penn, Yale, Case Western, NYU.


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