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New Grad PCICU Nurse Starting a DNP Program

PICU   (259 Views | 3 Replies)
by mads197 mads197 (New) New Student

261 Profile Views; 8 Posts

Hi there, I recently was accepted into a BSN-DNP program to get an FNP starting Fall 2020. I will be graduating nursing school this May and have a job secured in a Pediatric Cardiac ICU. I'm worried that starting such a rigorous job, on top of being a new grad nurse, while also starting a DNP program is going to be too much. I understand it will be a rigorous program but have heard that in general the first year (since it's all online classes) is doable to work full time. Do you think it would be too much to start both at the same time? I feel like it would definitely be fine if I was working more of a low-key job, but since the PCICU has a huge learning curve it's more questionable. I learned that I can't defer my acceptance either. Open to all advice on this! I have to give my decision to admissions by Wednesday, April 15.

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9 Followers; 3,808 Posts; 29,062 Profile Views

Way too much on your plate. One or the other is going to suffer.

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speedynurse is a RN, EMT-P and specializes in ER.

91 Posts; 351 Profile Views

I couldn’t imagine doing both. The pediatric cardiac ICU seems like such a high intensity field and doing a NP program would be really challenging without the background nursing experience. Try to get a few years in and learn all you can - then make the move to the NP program. Congratulations on the job - that is amazing to be able to get that learning experience!

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 1,415 Posts; 19,687 Profile Views

I agree that it's too much.

This may not be true of your unit, but when I started in peds cardiac ICU (even coming in with several years of NICU experience) I had to complete about 50+ hours of classroom time in addition to my 3 weekly 12-hour shifts. At least every other week I had to come in for mandatory education, and during the off-weeks I usually came in for optional education. I racked up over 100 hours of continuing ed in a single year because I had so much to learn.

Again, I found the learning curve very steep and I came in with several years of related, high-acuity experience. Even on an 'easy' floor, your first year of nursing is notoriously difficult, let alone in arguably the most complex specialty there is. Adult cardiac with 'normal' anatomy is tricky enough to get a good grasp on, and peds is exponentially harder since you take all of the 'normal' cardiac pathophysiology and add in an infinite number of defects.

In addition, something you may not have considered is that peds cardiac can be incredibly emotionally and psychologically exhausting. Depending on the acuity of your unit, the kids may be very sick. I cared for a lot of kids who lived on my unit for months; in some cases I became very attached, and then watched those same kids die long, drawn-out, painful deaths. Every day on my drive to work, I wondered if one of my patients would code. I specifically didn't get a second NICU PRN job when I started in cardiac because I knew I would need some "me time" in between my shifts. You might find it harder to practice self care if you are torn between work and school.

Finally, and I don't mean to cast doubt on your grad school plans, but you may discover that your interests change once you're at the bedside. If you get into peds cardiac and find that you love it, an FNP really won't allow you to work with that population (even in an outpatient capacity). If you start working and realize that you want to work in a peds specialty beyond primary care, you'll need to get a PNP instead of an FNP. It's possible that working in peds cardiac will reaffirm your interest in FNP, but it's also possible that you'll realize you're interested in something else.

Edited by adventure_rn

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