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NNP Grad Program

So, I am quite set on becoming an NNP as soon as possible. I'm currently in a BSN program. Could an NNP possibly tell me what their graduate program was like and how difficult it was?

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 12 years experience.

My program was difficult, but doable. I had 4 years full time experience before I started and worked mostly full time for the two years I was in school. I didn't have delivery room experience, so that was a bit of a learning curve. Honestly, the harder thing was changing the mindset of being a nurse to being a provider. It was interesting to me to feel as a bedside RN at a large Level IV and I felt that I knew how to manage the babies and that the NNP job wasn't too hard. Well, it's a different ball game and you are so protected as a RN, you just don't realize it until you are actually the person diagnosing and prescribing.

On the other hand, the basic care wasn't too hard. For example, the RNs and RTs managed the ventilators on the unit and we rarely called the provider unless the baby was doing badly or we wanted to extubate. Quite different from my current institution where there is a lot more hand holding. But I learned a lot more on why things are done the way they are and what the research shows on various interventions and medications (usually not a lot, lol, for the world of neonatology. I used to work with one attending that is fond of telling the parents that we have no idea what we are doing, but it's worked before, so we would try it again)

The other thing that was difficult was getting back into the mindset of being a student. I hadn't been in school for 6 years...I loved school and was a good student, but I still only squeaked out Bs in my first semester, even though one of the classes was research and should have been an easy A. Once I adjusted, I got good grades again, but it was a serious mental adjustment and I was learning to give up the free time that I had become accustomed to as before.

Last thing I would say is that patho is most likely going to be your hardest class and probably will be one of the first classes you take. My instructor used to write board exam questions for the PNP certification and it was super hard. I thought I was going to flunk out of graduate school after a couple of weeks. But you get through it and just remember that it's just one class.

Best of luck to you.

My program was difficult, but doable. I had 4 years full time experience before I started and worked mostly full time for the two years I was in school. I didn't have delivery room experience, so that was a bit of a learning curve. Honestly, the harder thing was changing the mindset of being a nurse to being a provider. It was interesting to me to feel as a bedside RN at a large Level IV and I felt that I knew how to manage the babies and that the NNP job wasn't too hard. Well, it's a different ball game and you are so protected as a RN, you just don't realize it until you are actually the person diagnosing and prescribing.

On the other hand, the basic care wasn't too hard. For example, the RNs and RTs managed the ventilators on the unit and we rarely called the provider unless the baby was doing badly or we wanted to extubate. Quite different from my current institution where there is a lot more hand holding. But I learned a lot more on why things are done the way they are and what the research shows on various interventions and medications (usually not a lot, lol, for the world of neonatology. I used to work with one attending that is fond of telling the parents that we have no idea what we are doing, but it's worked before, so we would try it again)

The other thing that was difficult was getting back into the mindset of being a student. I hadn't been in school for 6 years...I loved school and was a good student, but I still only squeaked out Bs in my first semester, even though one of the classes was research and should have been an easy A. Once I adjusted, I got good grades again, but it was a serious mental adjustment and I was learning to give up the free time that I had become accustomed to as before.

Last thing I would say is that patho is most likely going to be your hardest class and probably will be one of the first classes you take. My instructor used to write board exam questions for the PNP certification and it was super hard. I thought I was going to flunk out of graduate school after a couple of weeks. But you get through it and just remember that it's just one class.

Best of luck to you.

This was quite reassuring as I will be starting in the fall and my "program of study" is quite intimidating. I am going to go full time and have to maintain 9 graduate credit hours the entire time. I am nervous but like you said once I get in the mindset of going back to school it should be fine. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I always find your posts very helpful.