Advice before starting grad school

Posted
by littlepeopleRNICU littlepeopleRNICU Member Nurse

Specializes in NICU, telemetry. Has 7 years experience.

Searching the forum, there are many here in my similar position and starting NP programs in the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters of 2015. Any words of advice current students/NPs can offer for us? I'm particularly interested if you're familiar with all-online coursework. I did this finishing my BSN, but worry if the info for NP is going to be a bit more difficult to self teach. Tips or any insight/knowledge to extend? I'm an open book 😊

I specifically will be going into an AG-ACNP program.

traumaRUs

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience. 164 Articles; 21,186 Posts

Moved to student np forum.

Barnstormin' PMHNP

Barnstormin' PMHNP

Specializes in psychiatric. Has 4 years experience. 349 Posts

Hi and welcome! I am just finishing my first year as a PMHNP student, we have been following a FNP curriculum to begin with and this semester have begun psych clinicals. I have a hybrid program so half my work is online and half is in class. As far as online classwork, if you have done it in your BSN it isn't going to be much different. I have found the grad school classes and learning to much more self directed than the BSN and ADN portion. The coursework is much more I depth and there seems to be a lot more of it as well as more stringent grading. I know my program is more difficult than many, but probably not as hard as some so I guess we are in the middle lol. The areas we are known for being more difficult is the Patho and Pharma which is a positive in my opinion.

I don't find the material more difficult per se, but there sure seems to be more of it and more papers as well. The theory stuff requires more in depth thinking and it is a pain, but I have to admit I feel I am becoming a more well rounded practitioner. I love the fact that I understand patho and pharma on such a deeper level now too. If you are really interested in your chosen field, you will not find it too difficult.

I think if you do not normally struggle too much with school, papers, and tests, and are a good independent thinker and student, you will be fine!

Seaofclouds, BSN, RN

Specializes in CCRN. 188 Posts

I am also in an AGACNP program. Is there any in person time? I ask because I am in a mixed program. We have some on-line content, but then we also have in person time as well. In completing the advanced health assessment class, it was great having in person time to help with techniques for things like eye exams and some of the organ exams (palpating liver/spleen for example). I read the techniques and watched videos before the in person time, but those did not compare. How will your clinical time work?

MallysMama

MallysMama

Specializes in ICU. Has 6 years experience. 281 Posts

I'm in a mostly on campus AG-ACNP program, but we have a couple online classes as well. My biggest tip for you is to manage your time well. There is SO much info to learn in such a short amount of time. I spend 30-40 hrs a week studying and doing homework. I did my BSN online and it was a piece of cake compared to this program. So- don't procrastinate. :) If you're going to school full time, don't work full time if you can help it.

Congrats!! And good luck to you!

BiotoBSNtoFNP

BiotoBSNtoFNP

249 Posts

If youre doing it all online, make sure you are truly doing your assigned readings. You have to be committed to not just learning material for the test and instead learning and understanding the material for your practice. That is something I experienced that was very different than my undergrad. I used to be mostly concentrating on learning the material for the test and getting an A. Now, in NP school, it's most important than I am actually understanding the material to become a better clinical provider.

littlepeopleRNICU

littlepeopleRNICU

Specializes in NICU, telemetry. Has 7 years experience. 476 Posts

I am also in an AGACNP program. Is there any in person time? I ask because I am in a mixed program. We have some on-line content, but then we also have in person time as well. In completing the advanced health assessment class, it was great having in person time to help with techniques for things like eye exams and some of the organ exams (palpating liver/spleen for example). I read the techniques and watched videos before the in person time, but those did not compare. How will your clinical time work?

There are clinicals starting second semester. Do they actually have NP programs that don't? Lol. I'd be very weary of any practitioner program that allows you to graduate without having stepped the first foot into the field working with actual patients...You will have a preceptor and do clinicals for 1-2 days a week with them, from what I've been told so far. Campus visits are done each semester for check-offs. I just meant the actual coursework as far as lectures and submitting assignments is all online.

littlepeopleRNICU

littlepeopleRNICU

Specializes in NICU, telemetry. Has 7 years experience. 476 Posts

Hi and welcome! I am just finishing my first year as a PMHNP student, we have been following a FNP curriculum to begin with and this semester have begun psych clinicals. I have a hybrid program so half my work is online and half is in class. As far as online classwork, if you have done it in your BSN it isn't going to be much different. I have found the grad school classes and learning to much more self directed than the BSN and ADN portion. The coursework is much more I depth and there seems to be a lot more of it as well as more stringent grading. I know my program is more difficult than many, but probably not as hard as some so I guess we are in the middle lol. The areas we are known for being more difficult is the Patho and Pharma which is a positive in my opinion.

I don't find the material more difficult per se, but there sure seems to be more of it and more papers as well. The theory stuff requires more in depth thinking and it is a pain, but I have to admit I feel I am becoming a more well rounded practitioner. I love the fact that I understand patho and pharma on such a deeper level now too. If you are really interested in your chosen field, you will not find it too difficult.

I think if you do not normally struggle too much with school, papers, and tests, and are a good independent thinker and student, you will be fine!

I have always been a good student, and I'm very dedicated, passionate, and excited about this. Since high school, I wanted to go to nursing school first, give myself 5 years, and then start. (Idk where 5 came from, I've just for some reason always felt like I should allow myself at least that time lol). So I'm hoping that helps me! I love to learn and am kind of a nerd when it comes to things like patho lol. Which I have first semester, along with a theory class and pharm class.

Thanks!

Barnstormin' PMHNP

Barnstormin' PMHNP

Specializes in psychiatric. Has 4 years experience. 349 Posts

A tip for patho, I augmented with the book, "Clinical pathophysiology made ridiculously simple" by A. Berkowitz MD, PhD. It was an excellent resource and was very concise and organized. I also found Lang's "Symptom to diagnosis" invaluable for differential diagnosis and treatment.

littlepeopleRNICU

littlepeopleRNICU

Specializes in NICU, telemetry. Has 7 years experience. 476 Posts

A tip for patho' date=' I augmented with the book, "Clinical pathophysiology made ridiculously simple" by A. Berkowitz MD, PhD. It was an excellent resource and was very concise and organized. I also found Lang's "Symptom to diagnosis" invaluable for differential diagnosis and treatment.[/quote']

Awesome! Thanks, I think I will look into those and maybe start going over this summer.

grandpaj

grandpaj

192 Posts

I second the recommendation for "Clinical Pathophysiology Made Ridiculously Simple" -- it has been a great augmentation to my textbook this semester.

littlepeopleRNICU

littlepeopleRNICU

Specializes in NICU, telemetry. Has 7 years experience. 476 Posts

I just ordered the Berkowitz book!