I am a ICU nurse and have been for about 7 years. I love the ICU but I also can see that I will not be able to do this forever. I want to go to NP school but my problem is FNP or ACNP. I would love to work in the ICU as an NP but only for maybe 10 more years then after that I would like to slow down and work in a more rural setting out in the country more. Not that its a slower pace in fact I might be busier but I would like to live in the country someday so I think that fits me more. So what I am wondering is if I need to do a dual program or if I can just do FNP and with my years of experience I can still work in ICU. I dont think I want to do ACNP alone because I feel like that keeps me stuck to the hospital setting.
You're best off doing a dual program (it won't take twice as long, just a couple more semesters most likely). Under the Consensus Model, you are supposed to work in the setting in which you are trained, so FNPs would be relegated to out-patient and ACNPs to in-patient. Not all states have adopted this model which is why you see some FNPs working in the ICU right now. I don't know how long this will be "allowed" per individual states passing Consensus Model guidelines, but I also think it's a bit of a professional thing to do to actually be trained for the job in which you want to work. If you want to work in a hospital now you could just do ACNP and then get a post-grad certificate in FNP years down the line if you wanted.
If you want to practice as an NP in an ICU or in a hospital setting you definitely need to have an acute care specialty certification. However, if you want to practice outside of the hospital and in a rural setting then FNP is the route to go.
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