You don't need RN experience to get an NP job

  1. I'm a new grad Adult and Geri Primary Care NP. I do not have RN experience. Since I started seriously pounding the pavement in my job search, I have had numerous phone and in person interviews. I've also received multiple job offers.

    Has anyone asked me if I had RN experience? Yes. When I answer that I have none, here are the 2 responses I've received:

    "Good for you!"

    "You must be very smart."

    This will probably upset some readers, but it's the truth.

    There are some job postings for new grad NPs for outpatient specialty positions that do require RN experience - oncology is one.

    Conclusion: if you want to be a Primary Care NP, you are fine going straight from BSN to MSN. There are plenty of employers that will be happy to have you, at least in the Western U.S.
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    About FullGlass, MSN, NP

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 416; Likes: 525

    272 Comments

  3. by   kadphilly
    We just hired a brand new NP without RN experience. And she was offered the job out of about 6-7 candidates who had experience. She interviewed well and went to a top program undergrad and grad. Ultimately, the MD's at my practice wanted a new grad that they could mold, and someone who went to a strong school. I do t think having RN experience matters in the primary car role.
  4. by   Jules A
    Quote from FullGlass
    Conclusion: if you want to be a Primary Care NP, you are fine going straight from BSN to MSN. There are plenty of employers that will be happy to have you, at least in the Western U.S.
    optimistic assertion n=1
  5. by   ACNP2017
    One of the great things about NP's have been the RN experience they generally possess. I personally feel the bedside nursing experience is invaluable and sets us aside from PA's.

    Most NPs had to work during his or her schooling to support themselves.

    I don't care for the salty undertone of the OP. Just because one can, doesn't always mean they should.
  6. by   BCgradnurse
    Quote from Jules A
    optimistic assertion n=1
    Make that n=2, Jules. If you count my entire cohort, make that n=41. All hired without RN experience; all successful NPs. Not to say DE grad are better than NPs with RN experience, but are as good as, in most situations. I think acute care is the exception. I can see how RN experience in that setting would be important.

    You're quite strong in your opinion that NPs must have RN experience. Have you had experiences with direct entry NPs that make you feel that way? What was your sample size?
  7. by   snailszy
    Yes! Thank you for posting this. I've been told by older nurses who aren't NPs that I need nursing experience. And by NPs that I don't. Good to know that you don't need RN experience to be hired as a primary care FNP!
  8. by   kadphilly
    I think that there is an unfortunate culture in nursing that implies the requirement of "putting your time in." We are really one of the only professions that does so. PT's, PA's, Speech Therapists don't require one to work in the profession prior to continuing on in their professions. Many go straight through to their masters or doctorate level. Sure they might have jobs to pay bills while in school, but not necessarily in their professions.
    As I have previously stated, I do not believe that for the role of a primary care NP that you need acute care experience. I have precepted for close to 20 years and I have not found that hospital experience necessarily equates to strong primary care skills. If anything, that longer they have been a nurse, I have seen a correlation with having greater difficulty with the autonomy of nurse practitioners.
    I am far more concerned about the number of programs popping up, especially those that are predominantly online and have a near 100 acceptance rate. Nurse practitioner programs should be very selective, and require high academic and cognitive standards, in additional to strong social and interpersonal skills. And there are far too many programs that require students to find their own preceptors. It makes us look comepletely unorganized and unprofessional. We as a profession should be far more concerned about these issues than direct entry.
    Last edit by kadphilly on Dec 30, '17
  9. by   JKL33
    Quote from FullGlass
    "You must be very smart."
    What is the rationale behind this train of thought in particular?

    Watch out for those who would stroke your ego like that.
    Last edit by JKL33 on Dec 30, '17
  10. by   kadphilly
    Quote from JKL33
    What is the rationale behind this train of thought in particular?

    Watch out for those who would stroke your ego like that.
    I would say it is smart for those who know that they want to be a Primary Care NP to go directly through school if they can. This is what I recommend the to college and high school students that I mentor. And to go to the best school that they can get accepted to and afford.
    Nurse practitioners should be smart. There is nothing wrong with others saying so. Again, it's a self depreciating of nurses. Our profession is moving forward only to be sabatoged by ourselves. It's an attitude of "who do you think you are going to grad school before you put your time in like the rest of us?" We will never move forward with this mentality.
  11. by   Dodongo
    Quote from FullGlass
    Has anyone asked me if I had RN experience? Yes. When I answer that I have none, here are the 2 responses I've received:

    "Good for you!"

    "You must be very smart."
    Ok, I've go to call BS on this. So you're trying to tell me that recruiters or potential employers are telling you that it is a PLUS, or desirable, that you don't have RN experience. Not that it's just neutral or not a concern, but that they are actually glad that you have no RN experience. I find that exceedingly hard to believe.
  12. by   kadphilly
    Not the OP, but we just specifically hired a brand new NP without experience as an RN because the medical director and physician wanted myself and the other NP/MD staff to train and "mold" them from the get go. And they wanted someone who graduated from a top tier school. They actively sought out someone who was brand new.
    Last edit by kadphilly on Dec 30, '17
  13. by   Dodongo
    Let's all be frank here, compared to PA or MD training, NP training is lacking. But that lacking training is predicated on the assumption that matriculants into NP programs have experience as a RN.

    The problem now is that NP programs, by and large, are allowing students into the programs with no RN experience, but the programs have remained unchanged. There hasn't been an increase in clinical time, or credit hours, yet NPs are clamoring for more and more independence.

    Education is valuable. Experience is valuable. And strict requirements to protect a professional field should be viewed as more valuable. As the market becomes ever more saturated and salaries for NPs drop we can remember that we did this to ourselves.
  14. by   Dodongo
    Quote from kadphilly
    Not the OP, but we just specifically hired a brand new NO without experience as an RN because the medical director and physician wanted me and the other NP/MD staff to train and "mold" them from the get go. And they wanted someone who graduated from a top tier school. They actively sought out someone who was brand new.
    I'll agree with this to a certain extent.

    If it were between a NP with 3-5 years of applicable RN experience who went to one of the degree mills we all know and love

    OR

    A new grad NP who graduated from a reputable program with no RN experience

    I'm going to choose the good program, assuming all other things being equal. The NP training is more important than the RN experience.

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