MSN NP or MSN + Post-Grad Certification


Hi all!

I have been doing a lot research lately about the right path to become an Acute Care NP. Emergency nursing is my passion, and I want to be an APRN who can still work in the ED. I will be graduating with my BSN this summer. I don't have RN experience, only tech experience. Most of the online graduate programs require 1-2 years of RN experience, and the ones that don't are already taking applications for 2017. I can't apply this year because I won't have my RN license until May or June of this year.

I don't want to wait 1-2 years to start graduate school. So my dilemma is: 1) wait 1-2 years and apply for an MSN with ACNP specialization program, or 2) start this year an MSN in Nursing management or education program online and then get a Post-grad cert in acute care NP. I think with the last option I will save myself some time instead of waiting the time required to get into an MSN in ACNP program.

Does this make any sense? any suggestions?


388 Posts

Specializes in Med/surg, Tele, educator, FNP. Has 16 years experience.

I did a FNP MSN program together, i also had many years RN experience. I went to school with FNP student who had a MSN with education and it seems like they did more school then I did. The first year was core MSN classes, then the last 2 years was FNP stuff.

If you get a MSN with education components you will have extra classes in education, I feel like that would be a waste unless you plan to teach. You can teach with a MSN FNP too. I would wait because you can get the feel as a nurse first and have some basic knowledge on the floor or ER before you start.


33 Posts

Get your license, go work in an ER for a year while you're applying for NP school. The RN experience will be invaluable for you and your future plans. Trust me the year will fly by, and you'll be back in school before you know it. Why spend that year doing a master's degree you're not ultimately interested in pursuing career-wise, when you could be getting that RN experience that your NP programs want anyway?


1,413 Posts

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

MSN with NP. Pursuing any other route only protracts the process, increases time, increases cost, and decreases your earning power. Get it done faster and cheaper then start working sooner making more money. It's all a matter of economics.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,232 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Unless adult only ER, ACNP can NOT see children. Might want to consider what APRNs are in your ER already and see what educational background they have.


5 Posts

Agreed with traumaRUs. If you want to work ED you will want to reconsider ACNP as they can't see children. Typically if you want to do ED you'll want your FNP. Our trauma services and intensive care NPs are however ACNP. Vanderbilt does however have a dual certification program that emphasizes emergency medicine if you are willing to drop the coin and travel.