How much work experiance before NP school?

by EzraRn EzraRn Member

Specializes in ICU and Home Health. Has 8 years experience.

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

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 26 years experience. 3,773 Posts

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.


traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 30 years experience. 164 Articles; 21,143 Posts

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.



Specializes in Advanced Practice, Home Care, Med-Surg,. Has 13 years experience. 253 Posts

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.

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 26 years experience. 3,773 Posts

(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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