NP Program- acute or primary??


I really need help with deciding what kind of NP program to apply for.

Here is my interest: I would love to graduate and work in cardiology, either in a MD's office or in the hospital such as CCU. Maybe even both. I work as a RN on a surgical ICU and enjoy critical care.

I need to make a decision soon as to what NP program to apply for.

Would it be best to do "Adult Acute care NP", "Adult Primary care NP" or FNP????? I dont want to limit myself to inpatient or outpatient only. I want to have both options.

I am soo confused and keep on going back and forth months now. Any insight would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Specializes in MICU, SICU, PACU, Travel nursing.

I am in an acute care NP program and know a few people who have graduated with the title. One works with a pulmonary group and rounds in ICU and such and the other works at a heart clinic with hers. I think you could do in or outpatient with the adult acute care NP as far as I know. Good Luck!!

Advanced Practice Columnist / Guide

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 31 years experience.

The first thing you can do is to find out in your specific geographical area what kind of NP's are being hired in the specialties you are interested in. Depending on where you are, some states have strict rules about FNP's working in hospital settings and Adult Primary Care NP's working in critical care environments. A good example for these kinds of rules is the State of Texas. Others such as my home state do not have strict laws about NP specializations and have allowed NP's to cross settings where you may see FNP's working in hospitals in addition to their primary role which is the out-patient setting. You may find that in this case, the FNP does give you the flexibility not only in terms of work setting but also in the age of the patient population you are allowed to care for.

I advise you to read the Nurse Practitioner forum as this issue continues to be a popular topic in the threads there. I have also responded to a question similar to yours and to save time and the effort of typing, I am just going to post the link here:

Thanks for your replies!

I have spoken to multiple NPs that I work with in critical care. There are some FNPs, Adult acute and Adult primary NPs. All recomended that I get the degree they had;). The primary said that I would be able to get hired in a hospital because I have RN hospital experience. The Acute said that cardiology is mostly an acute area.

Im confused!

Advanced Practice Columnist / Guide

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

9 Articles; 4,338 Posts

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 31 years experience.

No one can tell you exactly what is best for you. And you're right, the NP field is one confusing mix-up of letters that doesn't always make sense!

Maybe it will help if I give my perspective on why I chose the ACNP route and here are my reasons:

1. Loved hospital practice. I've tried doing less fast-paced fields and low acuity type areas and hated it. I love the rush of caring for the really sick patients.

2. Never liked Peds or Women's Health. I worked in the ER and the peds section of the ER is one of my most hated sections to work in. I knew I'll never think of applying even as a RN in Peds or Women's Health so why would I do that as a NP.

3. I loved the curriculum in the Acute Care NP program. There are 3 semesters of solid head to toe, body system coverage of all adult illnesses and conditions both acute and chronic. For instance, the first semester covered Neurology and Neurosurgery, ENT, Behavioral Health. The second semester covered Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Pulmonary and Critical Care, and Nephrology. The third semseter covered GI, Oncology, Hematology, Dermatology, Immunology.

4. Clinical rotations were individualized depending on your goals. I did rotations in Internal Medicine, Cardiology (in-patient and clinic), Pulmonary Out-Patient, Critical Care Medicine, and Emergency Medicine. I doubt if ANP or FNP will be able to offer me that range of acute care specialties for clinical rotations.

5. I now work in critical care medicine as a NP. ACNP prepared me for this role well.

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