Need Some Academic Advice (Primary Care NPs)

Specialties NP


Hi. I am starting my final year in a Family NP program and will begin working on my Capstone/Thesis project this fall. I want to choose a really good topic. The two qualifications for "really good", to me, are: 1) Interesting, and 2) I will learn something valuable that I will go on to use in practice. I would like to pick something that I may find challenging as a new NP (so that I'll have a head start!)

I have some non-mainstream interests such as integrative pain management and alternative medicine. But, I have no idea if my career will take me in that direction, or at what point (may be far down the road). It seems safer to choose a topic related to conventional primary care or internal medicine. I am a rehab nurse so I was thinking of something along the lines of stroke prevention. One topic idea is cardioembolic stroke management. In other words, management of A-fib and related disorders. My question to practicing primary care NPs is, do you manage a lot of A-fib? Or are these patients mostly managed by cardiologists?

I guess an even safer route would be hypertension management as that is definitely a primary care topic... but can anyone think of an interesting focus for that topic?

I would appreciate any ideas. Even if you could just tell me what you see a lot of in practice or what you may not have been prepared for as a new grad, and find quite often... that would be great. Thanks for your time!

Specializes in allergy and asthma, urgent care.

I work in primary care, and we manage a lot of afib patients in respect to their coumadin. We have an RN that sees the patients, but the PCPs review all the results and make any adjustments to their orders. They do see cardiology, but probably see their PCPs more. I see a ton of diabetes and hypertension, and I was shocked at the % of non-compliance with meds and diet, and there are reasons for that. I actually did my capstone project on hypertension management in a low socio-economic minority population, and I use the research I did on a daily basis, as I work with that type of population now. We hear a lot in school about cultural competency until we probably no longer listen, but I've found you definitely need to be competent in the cultures you work with. That might be an idea for a project and it could apply to any condition where lifestyle changes are necessary-COPD, diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, etc. Just my thoughts.....I hope you find something interesting to work on!!

Thank you so much! That was exactly the kind of answer I was looking for!

Hi BCgradnurse,

my ultimate goal has been to be a primary care nurse practitioner, however, I have worked in pediatric cardiology/icu for the past 5 years. I am thinking about going into the primary care nurse practitioner program here (Ontario, Canada) but am wondering how much experience does one need in adult care to be a primary care nurse practitioner??


Specializes in allergy and asthma, urgent care.

Well, it all depends who you ask.....I attended a direct entry RN-MSN program and went right into an NP job, so MY answer is "none"! It all depends on what you're comfortable with, and what employers in your area want.

If anyone has questions about the Ontario program (Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner), I just finished it last month. You can PM me...

Diabetes is always a good affects both sexes, all ages and both rich and low socioeconomic status.

Specializes in Emergency, MCCU, Surgical/ENT, Hep Trans.

Hypertensive crisis in the office. I'd look at all the options you could use, go into the Pathphys, testing, differentials and ultimately when you send to the ED. I see this a lot and note that many in Primary Care do not try anything before calling 911, when simply, the client forgot to take their am dose of Lisinopril or they're hurting, stressed, under treated. I think it would be an interesting paper and definitely "out of the box" thinking. Best of luck :up:

hi sandbetweenmytoes,

I was wondering where you did the primarycareNP program? I've already completed the masters program at uoft and want to enter the PHCNP program (not sure if uoft will have the program). I have many questions regarding amount of time in class per week, York and Ryerson's program and their differences, and how things have been in terms of looking for primary care NP work afterwards?

Thanks for the info!!

nursecc 33,

The Ontario Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program is delivered at 9 or 10 universities across Ontario. I do not believe U-T is one of them. U-T offers the Acute Care Adult program, I believe. No matter which university you enroll in this (PHC-NP) program at, the program is IDENTICAL. The classes and content are the same. Two of the classes are delivered online with all your other cohort student from all 10 universities. All exams are identical and written on the same days. You will get the same education no matter where you is designed that way. You will have individual tutors at your own university and common professors between all universities. You can complete the certificate (since you already have your Masters) in 12 months of full time study (3 semesters). The clinical portion is approximately 750 hours, and is spread out over the 3 semesters, with the final semester (Integrative Practicum) being predominantly clinical. Most of the work is online and self-study delivery. You meet once a week at your local university for one full day of class-time, and you meet online every Wednesday night for two other classes.

I did the program full-time and we were told we are not allowed to work if you are taking the full-time curriculum. I can tell you it was intense. On average between classes, clinicals, assignments and studying, I was averaging at least 60-70 hours a week, and I had friends who put in more hours than that.

Since I am writing my Canadian certification in October, I am not actively looking for work, but I know of several openings. I don't think you will have trouble in Ontario finding work, once finished.

Best of luck to you!

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