How much work experiance before NP school?

Students Post Graduate


  • by EzraRn
    Specializes in ICU and Home Health.

Hello Everyone,

Can you tell me what is the minimum years one should have working as an ICU nurse before they begin to earn their NP in critical care.

Thank You

allnurses Guide

ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

Most schools require 1-2yrs recent acute experience before you are admitted to ACNP. You'd have to ask the school you want to attend, though as it varies.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,242 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

Many opinions on this:

1. IMHO - you need several (2-3) years as an RN to become a proficient NP/APN.

2. Direct entry folks disagree with me and say that anyone can become a proficient NP/APN w/o RN experience as they are two different jobs.


253 Posts

Specializes in Advanced Practice, Home Care, Med-Surg,.

RN and NP are 2 different roles but I still feel one should be a strong, confident RN before pursing the advance practice role. There is an overlap in the roles. How long it takes one to be confident varies on the individual. I would say a minimum of 2 years before starting the program then ofcourse most nurses will continue to work while in NP school.

allnurses Guide

ghillbert, MSN, NP

3,796 Posts

Specializes in CTICU.

(I agree - how can you be advanced practice nurse if you're not even a basic nurse?)

UVA Grad Nursing

1,068 Posts

Each program is different, and the appoach at my University is below:

We will enroll new nurses as part-time students (taking 1-2 courses per semester). The new BSN-prepared students would take the basic, core classes (research, health policy, nursing theory, pathophysiology, epidemiology, etc) for the first 1.5 years. These classes do not require practice ability.

After students have at least 1.5 years of practice under their belt, they could enroll in advanced health assessment and acute care pharmacology, as well as seminars on critical care.

We believe that APN practice builds on RN competencies.

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