Palliative Care NP program Vandy?

Posted
by Nole Nole (New) New

Anyone in the Palliative Care NP program at Vandy? Am interested in the program and have some questions...Thanks

mammac5

mammac5

727 Posts

I'm in another one of the adult courses of study, but I'd be happy to answer your questions if I can.

Nole

Nole

4 Posts

Thanks for your reply! Does your program have the block format? The Palliative Care focus uses that format. I am an adult learner with a home, family, and job in Georgia. Will be able to work part-time during school. Is this realistic? Studying for the dreaded GRE now and having trouble remembering math from long ago......

mammac5

mammac5

727 Posts

Yes, it's realistic! The Palliative Care folks are in several of the same courses with the Adult folks and our blocks are at the same times. I live at a distance from NVL and it's been a hard year, but it's completely do-able. I have friends who fly in for each block from different parts of the country.

Some people work full-time, some work part-time, and some don't work outside jobs - that really varies a lot and everyone's circumstances are different. I worked the first semester of the year (before we started clinicals) but then stopped working so I could devote myself fully to clinical experiences and writing the many, many scholarly papers required.

I'm also an adult learner and was not an RN when I started this program. Last year I lived in NVL full-time to do the Bridge program at VUSN while my husband remained here at home. It was rough, but at this point we're used the sacrifices and feel like we're on the downhill slope now that I'm almost done.

Don't sweat the GRE too much. I'm no math-magician and I did fine. I used two different specific GRE study guides which really helped me understand HOW to take the test. There really isn't so much math to do, per se, but it's more about how you look at a problem and use logical thinking to eliminate the WRONG answers from the multiple choices.

Let me know if you have any other questions or if I can help in any way.

CCRNDiva, BSN, RN

Specializes in Level II Trauma Center ICU. Has 7 years experience. 365 Posts

Mammac5, I'm applying to the ACNP program @ Vandy (I have 7 yrs RN experience). I noticed you said many scholarly papers are required. Do you mind explaining what kind of papers are required, ie required length, how many per class, etc. Do you think there is too much focus on papers in comparison to focus on pathophysiology, pharmacology, etc? In other words, do you feel they focus on theory at the expense of clinical (diagnostic, lab interpretation) skill?

I've been very excited about getting into this program. I attended the open house in March and fell in love, but I don't want to end up in a program that focuses primarily on theory. I want to be a strong clinician when I complete the program. I see so many posts on this site from NPs who have graduated that cannot read xrays or interpret labs. I do not want to feel that way after paying thousands of dollars on tuition.

mammac5

mammac5

727 Posts

CCRNDiva - Great question. My short answer is that, no, I don't feel like theory has been emphasized over clinical knowledge/skills.

The long answer is that every specialty (ACNP, Adult, Peds, etc.) has a theory/research course every semester (right now). You will write at least one scholarly paper (using current/recent research from studies that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. In all honesty, theory is not my favorite area. Research, however, I feel is very important because there we learn how to identify and interpret a research study. So say a drug rep comes into my office five years from now and is telling me all about a new drug his company has developed. I can look at the research now and critique it to know whether this was a valid study or not so much. Then I can make decisions for my practice based on that knowledge.

Your specialty will require other papers, which are going to be different from mine. But they aren't busy work; they really do require you to dig into a subject of interest to you and deepen your knowledge for use in practice.

It all takes time! If you haven't done electronic library research before (or for many years) and are not familiar with search strategies OR if you have not worked with APA format over the past year or so, I would strongly recommend making an appt with one of the librarians at whatever school you attend EARLY in the program. You will save yourself countless hours of frustration if you hit the road running with this knowledge already on board. Writing papers takes time but is made much easier if you aren't also trying to teach yourself HOW to write a paper at the same time!

As for clinical knowledge, the professors and assistant professors at VUSN are practicing instructors, which means they are doing this job as well as teaching. They have real-world, current experience in their clinical setting and aren't just teaching from a text or a programmed course. They know what they're doing and they teach us what we need to know to be entry-level practitioners. Your actual clinical experiences will be far different from mine (ACNP vs. Adult) so I can't speak to that, but I've heard from ACNP friends that its' quite rigorous.

CCRNDiva, BSN, RN

Specializes in Level II Trauma Center ICU. Has 7 years experience. 365 Posts

Thanks so much, Mammac5! Thankfully, I've been fully immersed in APA format and scholarly writing this year while completing my RN-BSN. I appreciate your point about research as well.

If you can't tell, theory isn't my favorite component of nursing education either. I must admit that I've been disappointed with the level of fluff work included in my program.

Anyways, thanks again for your input!!

P.S. Sorry for hijacking this thread : (

danceluver

danceluver

653 Posts

@Mammac5

I could use your suggestions/advice as well. I am applying to Vandy this year as a pre-specialty student (As i read just like you did). I think Vandy has a great program, the only thing that "scares" me is the distance part in the NP portion. I know if admitted i'd be admitted as a distance student because i live no where near NVL right now. I would have loved to finish out the whole program there, but as I now understand that is not possible. How did you feel the program set up for distance learning and the occasional trips back to Vandy--did it become tedious and expensive? What about your clinicals and preceptors--do they have networks all across the country so you don't have to frantically search for your own (this is something i don't want to have to do except maybe once with someone i know)? Do they give you suggestions on where to go and live after living in NVL if they tell you ahead of time they won't have any connections where you actually came from? I am thinking of applying the FNP/CNM program at Vandy. Any thoughts are welcome! Thank you!!

mammac5

mammac5

727 Posts

dancingnurse13

Well, the CNM part makes a big difference. To the best of my current knowledge, the CNMs do stay in NVL after the first year. A great friend of mine from prespecialty year is FNP/CNM and had to remain in NVL, which is what she wanted to do. If that stays the same in the near future, you would have to keep living in NVL.

For those who live locally (as you would) VUSN will set up your clinicals for you. Be prepared to do some driving if you stay in NVL and do clinicals "locally" because they consider a 2-hour radius from downtown NVL to be local. The beauty of that is you get the opportunity to work in rural practices and see how that type of office differs from urban settings. The downside is the drive. My friend S. actually just gets a hotel and stays 4 nights a week at the small town where she's doing clinic rather than drive so far each day. With current gas prices, it's probably cheaper. As long as there's internet access, she can still keep up with other work.

Again, double-check to confirm that because it could always change prior to your admission. Traditionally they CNMs have remained in NVL to work with the large network of CNMs there. As a consequence, some end up doing their FNP "locally" and having long commutes.

As for me, I LOVE the trips back to Vandy for Block. They are intensive classroom times, which can become tedious after a day or two, but I get to see all my friends and I enjoy that. I'm actually getting a little sad now that I only have three more to go before I complete my degree! Nashville is a fun place to visit.

danceluver

danceluver

653 Posts

oh that is good to know! But for other specialties, like the one you are doing or just pnp, fnp, etc---would i be responsible for setting up my own clinicals and preceptors if I do have to move back after prespecialty year? How did you find this set up? Tough, doable, easy?

CCRNDiva, BSN, RN

Specializes in Level II Trauma Center ICU. Has 7 years experience. 365 Posts

Mammac5, I did the GRE today. I totally bombed the math portion. I ran out of time on #24. I ended up with a 430 in Math, total 1000. I feel so sick I could vomit. I usually get As/B+s in math but I am usually one of the last to complete the test. I studied lots of geometry (I felt I had forgotten a lot of that) and verbal but guess I should of worked more on quadratic equations and the like. I did much better on the practice test and finished the math portion in time on the practice test. I think not finishing all of the ?s cost me a good 100 pts.

I have a good GPA, strong recommendations and I am CCRN certified. I think I did pretty well on the essays but time will tell. Do you think I still have a shot at being accepted? Do you think I need to retake the test?

mammac5

mammac5

727 Posts

Generally speaking, yes, you would have to make contacts for your own clinical settings and then VUSN would approve them. There are a lot of places where they have past contracts, for instance if you live in Cincinnati they may have contracts there from previous students who lived in the area. So the contracting folks can give you names of those places (if there are some) in your area, then you will contact them to see if they can take you as a student, etc.