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Experience/work setting prior to becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner

NP Students   (677 Views | 2 Replies)
by Tinybutmighty Tinybutmighty (New) New Nurse Student

Tinybutmighty specializes in Home health registered nurse.

116 Profile Views; 3 Posts

Hi everyone, I am currently on my first year into becoming family nurse practitioner through a doctorates program. I am working at a home health agency that deals primarily with pediatrics and ventilators. I absolutely love my job but I feel I am getting little experience that will benefit me as a nurse practitioner as the work is always the same. I have thought about applying to a hospital to get more experience but hospitals honestly make me nervous (I do love nursing though!).

For those of you that are family nurse practitioners I was wondering what work experience you had prior to becoming a nurse prior? And if you had worked at a hospital at all? 

Thank you! 

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293 Posts; 7,933 Profile Views

Everyone is different in terms of learning needs, but I would strongly recommend working in a hospital before doing FNP. ICU is the best because so much happens at bedside; you get to see diagnostics done and resulted and see how medications and interventions impact patients directly. I learned a lot about treatment of specific conditions in nursing school, but my ability to triage and prioritize came from hospital nursing, and that is just as important (and can't be taught in a classroom).

A possible exception could be if you wanted to work for a specialist, where you are dealing with a narrower range of issues...but I'm just guessing about that.

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SopranoKris is a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

3,074 Posts; 32,868 Profile Views

Now that I'm in the clinical setting, I will say that getting experience in treating adult patients with common conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, COPD, etc.) in the hospital setting was very beneficial before starting my NP program. By doing so, you become familiar with the medications prescribed, common lab values, and more importantly, the physical signs/symptoms you see with these patients. As an NP student, I often have to do assessments on new patients to the practice. Knowing what to look for in a physical assessment and having my experience at the bedside has helped me countless times in recognizing the need for further diagnostics, such as EKG or PFTs. 

If you are going to specialize in Peds, you might want to consider being a PNP, instead of FNP, if you don't want to work with adults. The biggest drawback for me in clinicals is that my only experience with Peds & OB/Gyn was during nursing school. Never had to deal with it once I started working in the hospital. So, if you want to have a well-rounded experience before starting your NP program, it would definitely be beneficial to gain some experience with adult patients. You don't necessarily have to work in a hospital setting, if that seems daunting to you. Perhaps a sub-acute rehab or LTC facility? Some adult specialty practices hire RNs (e.g. cardiology, pulmonology, etc.) so you might be able to find an outpatient practice. Look at what's available in your area.

Good luck with your decision 🙂

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