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100% Online vs. Hybrid Nurse Practitioner Programs

NP Students   (1,024 Views | 4 Replies)

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I was recently accepted into two different nurse practitioner programs. One is a fully online FNP masters program through the University of Cincinnati, and the other is a hybrid DNP AGPCNP program at UNC Greensboro. UNCG finds your clinical sites for you, whereas Cincinnati requires you to find your own. I have been reading mixed reviews on how people question the reputation of 100% online programs that require one to find their own clinical sites. However, I have also read that the University of Cincinnati is a top-ranked online program. I am not sure which path to choose, but I have been leaning towards UC as I would prefer FNP over AGPCNP. However, I am a little scared about finding my own preceptors, especially with COVID, as I've heard this has complicated things for some students. I would love some input from anyone with experience as a nurse practitioner or student nurse practitioner. Do you feel that 100% online programs have a questionable reputation? How has it been/how was it for those of you who had to find your own preceptors? Thank you in advance! 

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barcode120x has 5 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in Telemetry.

568 Posts; 10,573 Profile Views

In particular to the Uni of Cincinnati, I don't think you have to worry about "questionable reputation."

It definitely is intimidating to have to search for your own preceptors. I knew my PCP precepted students from the University I go to so even before I started my program, I asked if she'd be willing to have me and agreed. Later down the road, I had to find another preceptor, but fortunately one of the adjunct faculty at my school picked me. Your school's/program's faculty are a great source of preceptors, and I would definitely start asking around the MDs, DO's, NP, etc at your workplace. Many of the docs at my hospital are very open to taking NP students, especially since they know you work there already as a nurse, there is already that level of trust built.

Your choice boils down to two things, work and personal life as well as the COVID crises. I believe both hybrid and online programs are doable with a re maybe less depending on your hybrid family and/or full time work; however, with a hybrid program you will have to sacrifice time each week, maybe more maybe less depending on your program in order to commute to school and back. I would say the main advantage of going for the hybrid program is that they find your preceptor for you which is a HUGE plus during this COVID crises where many clinics and clinicians may not be taking in students at this time. At least with your hybrid program, by the time you start doing clinicals I'd assume they would have sorted all that out and have preceptors for you. Before accepting, I would personally make sure that clinical sites are set if you choose the hybrid program.

In regards to a full online FNP program, I can personally say it's the best choice I've made so far considering the fact that I was lucky enough to get preceptors (I've had some classmates that had an initial hard time finding preceptors). Everything has a set due date each semester and there aren't many changes to that so you can easily plan months ahead for things. I have been able to work full time, do 1 day of clinic, complete course work, and have time for life (then again, I don't have a family/kids and I'm kinda young). I only have to commute to school two weekends each semester for lectures/workshops on the weekend, but those are also planned way in advance. In my honest opinion, I'm not sure if it's because it's online, but the coursework is easy and very manageable.

Edited by barcode120x

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41 Posts; 1,056 Profile Views

19 hours ago, barcode120x said:

In particular to the Uni of Cincinnati, I don't think you have to worry about "questionable reputation."

It definitely is intimidating to have to search for your own preceptors. I knew my PCP precepted students from the University I go to so even before I started my program, I asked if she'd be willing to have me and agreed. Later down the road, I had to find another preceptor, but fortunately one of the adjunct faculty at my school picked me. Your school's/program's faculty are a great source of preceptors, and I would definitely start asking around the MDs, DO's, NP, etc at your workplace. Many of the docs at my hospital are very open to taking NP students, especially since they know you work there already as a nurse, there is already that level of trust built.

Your choice boils down to two things, work and personal life as well as the COVID crises. I believe both hybrid and online programs are doable with a re maybe less depending on your hybrid family and/or full time work; however, with a hybrid program you will have to sacrifice time each week, maybe more maybe less depending on your program in order to commute to school and back. I would say the main advantage of going for the hybrid program is that they find your preceptor for you which is a HUGE plus during this COVID crises where many clinics and clinicians may not be taking in students at this time. At least with your hybrid program, by the time you start doing clinicals I'd assume they would have sorted all that out and have preceptors for you. Before accepting, I would personally make sure that clinical sites are set if you choose the hybrid program.

In regards to a full online FNP program, I can personally say it's the best choice I've made so far considering the fact that I was lucky enough to get preceptors (I've had some classmates that had an initial hard time finding preceptors). Everything has a set due date each semester and there aren't many changes to that so you can easily plan months ahead for things. I have been able to work full time, do 1 day of clinic, complete course work, and have time for life (then again, I don't have a family/kids and I'm kinda young). I only have to commute to school two weekends each semester for lectures/workshops on the weekend, but those are also planned way in advance. In my honest opinion, I'm not sure if it's because it's online, but the coursework is easy and very manageable.

Barcode120x thank you for your response! I will definitely make sure that my clinical sites will be found for me prior to choosing the hybrid program. And if I choose UC, I will also start asking around my network to see if I can find preceptors. Unfortunately I am not close enough to Cincinnati to use any of the program's faculty as preceptors, but hopefully I will be able to find some connections through my workplace. The organization of the online setting with firm due dates does sound nice. I also love the idea of not having to travel to campus (1.75 hr trip for me) weekly to UNCG if I were to pick the hybrid option. Plus, being able to work more like you said is a major perk with the online option. However, UC's program has zero campus visits, and I'm not even required to go for orientation. I do wish that I had the option of going two weekends out of the semester like your program. I'd like to be able to establish a network there in person rather than fully online. That's one of the downsides for me, but still so many pros over cons with that program. Lots to thinks about! Thank you for your help! 

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ballerina09 has 4 years experience and specializes in FNP.

3 Posts; 54 Profile Views

Hello,

A program finding preceptors for you is so valuable. Mine didn't and it was a complete disaster every semester. It was by far the most stressful part of my masters. 

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adammRN has 11 years experience and specializes in DNP/PMHNP student.

304 Posts; 5,429 Profile Views

On 5/27/2020 at 10:40 PM, ballerina09 said:

A program finding preceptors for you is so valuable. Mine didn't and it was a complete disaster every semester. It was by far the most stressful part of my masters. 

I have to echo this. It was a nightmare for a lot of students at my school as well. I'm at a hybrid DNP program (please at least do hybrid) and even though school of medicine, pharmacy etc... had clinical spots... we still had to find our clinic placements. This adds to the stress and though everyone got in eventually, some started very late and barely were able to finish what they needed to stay on track with the program. 

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