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AGACNP vs FNP

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I'm currently applying for both AGACNP and FNP programs, but honestly can't decide between the two! I can honestly see myself practicing in both inpatient and outpatient patient populations, and understand there are both pros and cons to both settings. 

For any APRN's out there, what do you like/dislike about your current position? 

I'm interested in working in Trauma, Plastics, Ortho, or Aesthetics. 😅 Which program would be most suitable for me? 

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 29 years experience.

It's a tough decision because of the way NP programs are set up.  FNP training is across the lifespan but primary care centered.  I wouldn't even compare it to the scope of training a physician residency in family practice gets.  AGACNP trains for ages 13 and up with a body system-based focus for in-patient management including ED and Critical Care.  Very little primary care is covered in the actual clinical course sequence but some of it is touched on during the Health Assessment and Pharmacology class.

In reality, FNP's and AGACNP's cross paths in the in-patient area all the time. However, FNP can face the uncertainty that hospital and state rules can change and make them unqualified for their in-patient role.  The other concern raised is the risk management issue where if something were to go wrong and competencies are questioned, someone not trained in the field they are practicing in face higher risk for being litigated.

You have a wide range of interests.  Trauma is best for AGACNP's -- this is the only program that will allow you to have the kind of NP clinical rotation in that field.  Plastics is a surgical specialty that involves a lot of in-patient management and again, AGACNP can offer that clinical rotation for you.  Ortho can be tricky - some Orthpods like Neurosurgeons operate on much young patients alongside adults.  Ortho seems to be a PA dominated specialty in my eyes.  Aesthetics is a gray area neither covered by FNP nor AGACNP training...you could potentially do either.

Thank you, Juan. I wish the NP scope of practice would allow more versatility between specialties as PA’s do. I’m leaning more for the AGACNP program given where my interests are, but there are not many acute care programs where I’m located.

What do you like/dislike about working in acute care? 

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 29 years experience.

On 10/21/2020 at 10:57 AM, islander_bsn said:

What do you like/dislike about working in acute care? 

I've worked in Critical Care as an NP since 2005. It was something I was interested in and a role that became available for me at the time...an opportunity I felt like I shouldn't pass up on.  I still enjoy it because of how dynamic it is and how there are always new things to learn.  The 3-12 hr shifts a week fits with my preferred lifestyle.  I have reached middle age so may have to slow down at some point, though.