Advice! NPs without RN experience

  1. Hello!

    I'm graduating with my BSN and have been accepted into a great DNP program. I have gotten opinions from NPs about students who go straight through to pursue their DNP degree and know it's a controversial subject. I'm looking for experiences from NPs who have gone straight through to their MSN/ DNP programs. Did you find it difficult to keep up with the material? Was it difficult to find placements for clinicals since you didn't already have those connections from working as a nurse? How was your NP job search without having that previous RN experience? I want to be sure I'm making the right decision and most importantly will provide the best possible care to my future patients.

    As an FNP I want to work in a pediatric office. My plan is to work throughout the program but I am unsure how well that will go since the first year of nursing is said to be the toughest.

    Any advice will be helpful! Thank you in advance!
    Last edit by health_cc on Mar 9
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    Joined: Jun '17; Posts: 3

    8 Comments

  3. by   ACorEtACri
    I did an ABSN/MSN program. The lack of experience had it challenges with no nursing experience when you are applying for NP jobs. A lot of large corporate employers will automatically kick you application out because they want some form of experience but there are plenty of people who will hire you without. I found that employers would had more ability to chose applicants they liked best over strict institutional requirements were easier. For examples, private practices are willing to hire new grads if they interested in training someone up. Government agencies and hospital systems were a no go directly out of school.

    It is important to make up for your lack of existing clinical knowledge by studying hard and absorbing as much as you can in clinicals. At the end of the day, if you want to have a good NP brain and skills, you are going to work to achieve it regardless of your previous experience. The pursuit of excellence is what determines the quality of NP you are going to be. I have precepted and oriented APRNs with no experience to 20 years experience as an RN. Your mind, motivation, and desire to learn is what make you into a good NP. Previous RN experience is a small help but only if it directly related to what your APRN practice site does.

    After 5 years of practice, people misunderstand me when I explain my nursing pathway. They often think I am joking when I explain I had no nursing experience prior to being an NP. Today I am a resource person and known for being the person who knows a lot about everything. My fellow NPs says they would never know I had not worked as a nurse prior to being an APRN.
    Last edit by ACorEtACri on Mar 9 : Reason: miswrite
  4. by   babyNP.
    If you want to work with the pediatric population, I would suggest you go for your pediatric NP primary care degree. FNP won't give you much exposure to the population and if you have no nursing experience, it will be exceedingly difficult and I can't see a pediatric office hiring a FNP with no pediatric RN experience unless they are desperate.

    Working with the adult population is a bit different because you had a lot of exposure to it during nursing school and your FNP clinical will be heavily geared towards that population with its common diagnoses and treatment plans. Pediatrics is a whole different animal.
  5. by   FullGlass
    I went straight through from ABSN to MSN. The material was difficult, and the students with RN experience didn't find it any easier. My school found our clinical preceptors, so that wasn't an issue. I had no difficulty finding a job after I graduated.
  6. by   health_cc
    Thank you all for your responses and advice! It's extremely helpful!
    Last edit by health_cc on Mar 13
  7. by   babyNP.
    Quote from FullGlass
    I went straight through from ABSN to MSN. The material was difficult, and the students with RN experience didn't find it any easier. My school found our clinical preceptors, so that wasn't an issue. I had no difficulty finding a job after I graduated.
    Which specialty are you working in? That would be relevant to the OP- much easier to get a job with adults as a FNP than with pediatrics.
  8. by   Dodongo
    My main advice would be not to hold out for a specialty - inpatient medicine, peds, women's health, psych - after graduating (good advice for any FNP really, regardless of RN experience). Your best bet for employment will be family medicine. FNPs are not trained for true pediatric practice to begin with, and without prior pediatric RN experience, I have a hard time thinking you'd be hired in that specialty. Maybe after practicing in family med/primary care (caring for a pediatric population) for a while you could find employment in pediatrics, but it's not likely as a new grad unless you're in an area that desperately needs pediatric clinicians.
  9. by   djmatte
    Quote from Dodongo
    My main advice would be not to hold out for a specialty - inpatient medicine, peds, women's health, psych - after graduating (good advice for any FNP really, regardless of RN experience). Your best bet for employment will be family medicine. FNPs are not trained for true pediatric practice to begin with, and without prior pediatric RN experience, I have a hard time thinking you'd be hired in that specialty. Maybe after practicing in family med/primary care (caring for a pediatric population) for a while you could find employment in pediatrics, but it's not likely as a new grad unless you're in an area that desperately needs pediatric clinicians.
    I agree that working in specialty for many new fnps is a bad idea mostly from a career perspective as it can be ultimately limiting. But I do know people from frontier who have excelled in pediatrics and women's health's. Their granted not a school you can go direct entry, but their history and detailed clinicals on both of those specialties make those areas an easy transition. I can't speak for other schools, but sometimes the right rotations can justify such choices.
  10. by   asystole00
    As an FNP in pediatric primary care, I would suggest attending a PNP-PC program if your end goal is to work solely in pediatrics. You'll be much better prepared right out the gate to take care of children. It's a much different ball game than adults. My program wasn't exactly peds-lite, and we took the same primary care class as the PNP-PC/AC students that covered the entire breadth of pediatric primary care. My peds rotation was in a primary care clinic who had a large population of kids with chronic and congenital conditions. I saw some pretty rare stuff as well as kids who had PEG tubes and home vents! That exposure really helped when I started my job. After 6 months, I'm certainly catching up, but there are days I wish that I would've done the PNP-PC instead as this is an area that I really wanna stay in.
    Last edit by asystole00 on Mar 14 : Reason: typo

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