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NP Programs w/o (or with less) Fluff/Theory?

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I'm considering becoming either an Acute Care NP or Physician Assistant (specializing in cardiology, surgery, or endocrinology) in the future. I'm currently an RN finishing up my BSN. Becoming a NP seems like a logical step, but haven't been able to find a program that has what I'm looking for. I'm disappointed at the NP curriculum and clinical requirement (often 500 hours and finding your own preceptor, really?). The 3 year DNP programs look something like this:

NURS 506: Intro to Advanced Practice Nursing

NURS 507: Theory and Application I

NURS 508: Theory and Application II

NURS 509: Policy, Quality, and Safety

NURS 510: Leadership for Nurses

NURS 512: Research and EBP

NURS 514: Alternative Therapies and Methods

NURS 611: Quality Improvement

NURS 612: Information System and Theory

NURS 614: Scholarly Application of Nursing Practice

NURS 616: Cultural Sensitivity and Role Development

NURS 710: Pathophysiology

NURS 711: Pharmacology and Therapeutics

NURS 712: Adult Health and Diagnostics I

NURS 713: Adult Health and Diagnostics II

NURS 714: Adult Health Clinical Practicum I (250 hours)

NURS 714: Adult Health Clinical Practicum II (250 hours)

NURS 830: Scholarly Project/Capstone

In my opinion, so many nursing theory and fluff classes should be replaced with more pharm, patho, genetics, diagnostics, and specialty courses (cardiology, neurology, immunology) similar to PA school. I'd really love to be a NP, but I haven't been able to find a program that has the depth of science/medical related courses and clinical hours (at least 1000) that I want. I can't stand fluff courses like I have in my BSN program. However, I'd love to be able to teach nurses and students as a NP, and be involved in nursing professional development/education (which I think I would miss out as a PA). I have no problem with part-time NP programs or courses that can be completed online (as long as they have an on-campus lab component for health assessment/procedural skills), and preceptors must be provided by the school. If anyone has completed a NP program they consider to be high quality, hard science/medical based (MSN preferred, I'm not too interested in the DNP), that provides preceptors and clinical sites for the students, with a lot of clinical hours, I would appreciate it! Thanks in advance!!

MurseJJ

Specializes in Neurosurgery, Neurology.

I'm hoping to apply to Columbia's ACNP program down the road (the below is in addition to Normal Physiology and Pathophysiology I and II):

[TABLE=class: views-table cols-4, width: 100%]

[TR=class: odd views-row-first]

[TD]N6838[/TD]

[TD]Diagnosis and Management of the Critically/Acutely Ill Adult I [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N6839[/TD]

[TD]Diagnosis and Management of the Critically/Acutely Ill Adult II [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N6930[/TD]

[TD]Interpersonal Violence and Abuse: Prevention, Assessment and Intervention for Health Care Professionals [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Core & Shared [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N6940[/TD]

[TD]Management and Advanced Practice Nursing [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Core & Shared [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N7005[/TD]

[TD]Health and Social Policy in the Context of Practice [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Core & Shared [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8102[/TD]

[TD]Advanced Pharmacology [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Core & Shared [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N8130[/TD]

[TD]Acute and Critical Care Pharmacology [/TD]

[TD]2 [/TD]

[TD]Elective/Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8786[/TD]

[TD]Advanced Clinical Assessment Across the Lifespan [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Required [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N8788[/TD]

[TD]Advanced Clinical Assessment in Acute Care [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8816[/TD]

[TD]Practicum in Acute Care for the Nurse Practitioner [/TD]

[TD]2 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N8817[/TD]

[TD]Clinical Seminar in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care I [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Required/Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8820[/TD]

[TD]Advanced Practicum in Acute Care for the Nurse Practitioner I [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N8823[/TD]

[TD]Advanced Practicum in Acute Care for the Nurse Practitioner II [/TD]

[TD]3 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8824[/TD]

[TD]Clinical Seminar in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care II [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Required/Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N8825[/TD]

[TD]Integration Practicum in Acute Care for the Nurse Practitioner [/TD]

[TD]5 [/TD]

[TD]Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8826[/TD]

[TD]Clinical Seminar in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care III [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Required/Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd]

[TD]N8826[/TD]

[TD]Clinical Seminar in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care III [/TD]

[TD]1 [/TD]

[TD]Required/Specialty [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: even]

[TD]N8843[/TD]

[TD]Independent Study in Adult Acute Care [/TD]

[TD]2 [/TD]

[TD]Elective [/TD]

[/TR]

[TR=class: odd views-row-last]

[TD]N9290[/TD]

[TD]Incorporating Genetics and Genomics in Advanced Practice Nursing [/TD]

[TD]2-3 [/TD]

[TD]Core & Shared[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

MurseJJ

Specializes in Neurosurgery, Neurology.

Georgetown's ACNP program is online (with on-campus visits, plus the clinicals of course):

[h=3]Semester 1[/h]N548 Principles of Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology (4)

N518 Health Care Ethics (2)

N469 Anatomy for Health Care Professionals (1)

[h=3]Semester 2[/h]N544 Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology (3)

N530 Research Methods & Biostatistics for Health Care Providers (4)

[h=3]Semester 3[/h]N528 Advanced Health Assessment (3)

N670 Diagnostic Reasoning & Clinical Decision Making (3)

AHA OCI: Health Assessment On-Campus Intensive

[h=3]Semester 4[/h]N673 Adult Gerontology ACNP I (4)

HESY 624 Health Policy (3)

ACNP OCI: Adult Gerontological-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner On-Campus Intensive

ACNP OCI: Adult Gerontological-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner On-Campus Intensive

[h=3]Semester 5[/h]N540 Research Evidence & Best Practices in Health Care (3)

N677 Adult Gerontology ACNP II (4)

[h=3]Semester 6[/h]N540 Professional Aspects of Advanced Practice Nursing (2)

N695 Adult Gerontology ACNP III (4)

ACNP OCI: Adult Gerontological-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner On-Campus Intensive

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)

Duke's ACNP MSN program, also online looks good (840 clinical hours):

https://nursing.duke.edu/sites/default/files/academics/matplans/msn_curriculum_requirements_agnp_acute_care.pdf

Hope that helps. Looks like most MSN programs are around 600+ credits. In searching I believe I've found 1000+ clinical hours for the BSN-DNP programs.

Thanks so much! It looks like Penn's program can be completed in 4 terms (Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer) full time and costs around 67K.

I love that they have a cardiology concentration!

Asclepius86 - Thank you so much! Very helpful information, I will definitely check out the schools you mentioned! Best of luck to you at Columbia! :)

Aromatic

Has 3 years experience.

dang like 2/3 the classes look like leadership/research stuff sheesh... at least for the first set coco posted. some of the other ones look good though but 70+k for an NP degree is a lot.

dang like 2/3 the classes look like leadership/research stuff sheesh... at least for the first set coco posted. some of the other ones look good though but 70+k for an NP degree is a lot.

It really is a lot, but the less expensive programs seem to have way more leadership/theory classes and the "find your own preceptor" issue :sour: It's probably because theory classes don't require the time, effort, or money to teach that something like advanced diagnostics or physiology takes to teach. If I'm going to pay the money, I might as well get a quality education (which is why I've been considering PA school - still expensive but I'd get over 3x the clinical experience that I would get in NP school).

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

If I weren't in psych which in my area doesn't use PAs at this time I would definitely pick PA over nursing for the quality of the education based on the medical model.

PA has more clinical and hands on and they are better prepared for procedures than most NPs. The big problem with NP programs is they are extensions of nursing programs that have been molded by women who focus on the "feeling" aspect of care. I do home one day we can focus more on hard sciences and lose the whole nursing care plans and useless nursing theories.

Curricular requirements for nursing degrees are fairly standard due to the requirements of the accrediting organizations for nurse practitioners. The requirements leave little room for variance among the programs, and a big standard requirement is the clinical hour requirement, which is pretty standard and must match what the NP certification boards require for specialties. Students shop around for degrees, and if a program offers 1000 clinical hours and the others offer 500 hours of practice, guess which program will attract the students and which program will suffer low admission?

A Doctorate of Nursing Practice also has standard requirements which must be met in order for the school to be accredited. The courses might vary from place to place slightly, but the content will be fairly standard. The DNP is a practice degree at the doctoral level, so doctoral content (theory, leadership, research, scholarly project, etc..) must be included to meet accreditor's degree requirements (look up American Association of Colleges of Nursing, this website has much information on the DNP and how the role began and evolved). If you want a practice degree without the fluff, a MSN degree with a NP focus is the way to go. Some schools are cutting back or even eliminating the MSN NP focus, due to tremendous interest in the DNP. They will keep programs that attract students and make them $$, and will resurrect programs that were eliminated when it is necessary in the future and trends go in another direction.

You mentioned an interest in being a nurse educator. Be sure that you explore nursing education courses to prepare for that role. A nurse practitioner is prepared for nursing practice, not education, unless there are nursing education electives and hands-on experience clinicals taken as part of the curriculum, and that varies widely.

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Some schools are cutting back or even eliminating the MSN NP focus, due to tremendous interest in the DNP. .

I enjoyed your informative post but in my opinion the above would better written as:

Some schools are cutting back or even eliminating the MSN NP focus, due to the tremendous increase in tuition income potential when retaining undergraduate students for the additional years of the DNP.

Plus there are those among us who think they will be considered "doctors".

That "fluff" you better invest some time into because the ANCC enjoyed testing it, I would say at least 40% of the certification exam consisted of leadership, research, public health, and even questions on navigating policy change in the community and at the national level.

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

UAB & University of South Alabama both have Acute Care NP programs with little "fluff". USA's BSN-to-DNP has the least fluff and awards you both the MSN & DNP (you do residency clinical hours, so you get a LOT of clinicals).

I understand where you are coming from with PA vs NP and the type of coursework/clinicals provided in each program. I recommend NP because if you are a PA, you will have to retest every 6 years. NPs only have to keep up with continuing education. Who wants to retest every 6 years?

It looks like what you've posted is the DNP curriculum, which is filled with fluff, and which is why I withdrew from the DNP program and am just going to finish up the MSN NP program. I did a discipline-by-discipline comparison of doctoral programs (not PhDs), e.g., DPT, PharmD, MD, etc., and the DNP is the only one that has zero clinical courses. Even a DMA (Doctor of Music Arts) has performance classes to improve their performance skills. The Capstone is not clinical--it is just using the brain to think up of something to do someday in the future. None of the NPs with DNPs I've talked to have said that the DNP improved their clinical skills. It just earned them greater respect from everyone and more confidence. I personally don't want or need to pay thousands of dollars to gain respect and more confidence.

Follow your heart!

I understand where you are coming from with PA vs NP and the type of coursework/clinicals provided in each program. I recommend NP because if you are a PA, you will have to retest every 6 years. NPs only have to keep up with continuing education. Who wants to retest every 6 years?

PAs have to retest every 10 years and complete 100 CME credits during that time. Personally I don't see that as a negative thing.

gelli.25

Specializes in OR Nursing, Critical Care, Med-surg. Has 4 years experience.

PAs have to retest every 10 years and complete 100 CME credits during that time. Personally I don't see that as a negative thing.

It isn't entirely a negative, but honestly, who wants to test for re-certification every 10 years? Plus, most PAs are in specialties - but their recert. test covers every single thing from peds to urology to psych. A couple of PAs that I work with were just mentioning this. No, thank you.