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Experience before taking on the NP role

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DLASRN DLASRN (New) New

Hi Everyone,

I'm currently an RN with a year experience in med/surg and ED. My goal has always been to further my education taking a masters/NP program. Here in Ontario, admission requirements include two years experience or the equivalent of 3, 640 hours. I was a strong undergraduate candidate with a 94% CGPA and a 96% DPGA. Since graduating, I have maintained my commitment to ongoing education.

My question for you is - would you advise against taking the NP program with the minimum of 2 years experience or have you seen people be successful in the program and as an NP with little RN experience?

Thank you for your time!

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

You will hear mixed answers, but my opinion is the skilled providers usually have a strong RN background in their specialty. Not saying there aren't exceptions to everything but at least in my experience the NPs I consider especially sharp all worked as a RN for a while. Personally the things I learned as a RN especially about medication absolutely helped me as a new NP and I can't imagine attempting to diagnosis and prescribe without that experience. Good luck.

I think having the nursing experience is very important. Who knows, you may find out you don't want to advance your degree.

Edited by ambey006
changing

PG2018

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

Your responses will range widely. There is great utility in seeing/hearing healthcare firsthand before continuing your education. This is especially helpful (at least in the U.S.) because NP training can be...rather deficient. Your education upon exiting NP training will largely be a result of your attempt to become educated.

Having said that, I think you can be a GREAT NP without working a day as a RN (and if I hadn't had to I wouldn't have). In Canada, that's clearly a requirement to have almost two years of work experience. My advice, if you want to be a NP - begin training to be a NP as soon as you can. You can work in school, and most in the U.S. do.

What a RN does is vastly different from what a NP does, and for me there was nothing that RNs are limited to that I found particularly appealing as a career choice. For me, the emergency department (moreover the urgent care side because of its practicality) was the most rewarding and tolerable experience as a RN, but then I would not choose to be a NP (or anything else) in the ED long-term. You can obviously tell, I entered nursing to become a NP and only a NP. If I weren't in psychiatry, I would probably pursue headaches or allergy/immunology. Why? Because that interests me, and that's the compelling reason I'm in psych - I like the whole "biopsychosocial" hodge podge but only personally treat from a biological perspective.

Bear in mind, people thought the world was flat, and that's the way it was. Then old Chris and some boys came along and floated out to see, and lo and behold everybody was wrong - the world was round. They sailed back and people still thought they were full of boloney, but then other people started doing sailing out, against the sage advice of wise others, and they survived. Eventually, the earth was circumnavigated. So yes, I think the masses of NPs have been RNs for considerable periods of time before become NPs. For that, most will recommend you do what they did because since it worked for them it must work for you too. When a guy comes along and wants to buck the system, like old Chris, the masses get angry, but many times that bucker comes out just fine. If you want to be a NP, you'll become a darn good NP because you have the drive and ambition to put in the effort to learn and experience.

I realized that having the RN experience is necessary before becoming an NP. Sometimes, i pull some information from my past professional experience. I also had a lot of practice communicating effectively and therapeutically with patients. I don't think i would have gotten good at it without my RN experience.

However, i met 2 NPs who are really good at what they do... Also really good with patients too that didn't have any RN experience before. I realized it would really depend on the person's knowledge and capabilities.

Sent from my iPhone

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Bear in mind, people thought the world was flat, and that's the way it was. Then old Chris and some boys came along and floated out to see, and lo and behold everybody was wrong - the world was round. They sailed back and people still thought they were full of boloney, but then other people started doing sailing out, against the sage advice of wise others, and they survived. Eventually, the earth was circumnavigated. So yes, I think the masses of NPs have been RNs for considerable periods of time before become NPs. For that, most will recommend you do what they did because since it worked for them it must work for you too. When a guy comes along and wants to buck the system, like old Chris, the masses get angry, but many times that bucker comes out just fine. If you want to be a NP, you'll become a darn good NP because you have the drive and ambition to put in the effort to learn and experience.

Interesting diatribe. The subtleties I repeatedly observed while working as a RN definitely assisted me discerning grandiosity vs circumstantiality vs delusions and sometimes its a combination. ;)

Thanks everyone for your advice!

PsychGuy - I love that! Thank you. :)