NP Clinical Hours

  1. Hello,

    I am graduating with my B.S.N on friday and start my NP program two weeks later. My program is acclelerated so this spring semester we had to take 18 credit hours, which was almost too much for me. This past month (part of summer semester) I have been doing about 40 hours of clinical a week and have classes one day a week.
    I can't wait for my week of vacation.

    I was wondering how diffucult juggling all the readings and clinical is during an NP program. I have two days of classes and 1.5 days of clinical for the first semester. Later in the program we have 2 half days of class and 3 days of clinicals. I have heard several times that there is a ton of reading during NP programs. I was wondering if anyone could estimate this as equal, less, or more than my current workload. I am all set to go, but I just want to have accurate expectations for the next 17 months of my life. If you have any tips on NP school vs nursing school or biology degree please feel free to give. Thanks in advance.
  2. Visit ACorEtACri profile page

    About ACorEtACri

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 57; Likes: 10


  3. by   lvICU
    First of all...Congrats!!

    Now, for your question. NP school involved a lot of reading. Much more than I ever did in either my RN or BSN programs. Not that it wasn't required in those programs but I was often able to get by with just lecture and then reading over any areas where I needed more studying. During my NP, I felt that I needed to study most things more than once and sometimes numerous times.

    I had the opportunity not to work and I was still overwhelmed most days. You can do it though! Good luck.
  4. by   CCRNDiva

    I'm starting an ACNP program in 4 wks and I have to admit that I'm now terrrified. I finally spoke with my program director and she totally scared the **** out of me. She basically told me that she thought I was trying to do too much trying to go to school full-time while working part-time. I told her that I have been a full time student for the past yr while working part time and she said grad school is more intense, etc. The way she talked to me was totally diffferent from my conversations with the admissions director.

    I was able to make contact with a recent grad and get her thoughts on the program and I encourage you to do the same. I feel like she gave me some good insight on the program, although knowing the level of instensity has fueled some additional anxiety. I was happy to know they have a 100% pass rate for boards and grads haven't had any trouble finding a job. I also found out this school is big on research, theory, EBP and papers. I find it hard to think along the lines of nursing theory because they seem to be common sense to me and I don't understand why I need a theory to tell me this or that. It may be related to having yrs of practice in the unit. We just do what needs to be done. This is the problem so you need to do a,b or c. Our docs expect us to know what's going on and know what needs to be done, it isn't a theory friendly environment.

    Like you, IvyICU, I've never had to study much for good grades. I pretty much studied the same way you did during undergrad and stayed on the dean's list. I guess I never really learned how to study and I'm afraid that I will pay for that now.
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 3, '11 : Reason: language
  5. by   ACorEtACri
    Thank you so much for your comments. The school had us take the graduate level research, ethics, and health policy classes, so there might be a few less papers. We have to take elective to make those credit hours up though. I have talked to the program director. Graduates from other program said their friends switched specialties because this particular degree because of the clinical hours (1000 hours total). Maybe there will be grad students at the orientation. Thank you again.
  6. by   sandnnw
    If you are organized and did well in your BSN, you'll do fine with your MS/DNP. As previously mentioned, you may have to read a great deal and reread some topics to get it into your brain.

    Not having practical experience as an RN means you may not quite understand the dynamics behind some problems/diagnosis/acuity and lack that "gut" feeling gained from working in an ICU/ED/unit, etc. Many NPs worked in a clinical setting before attending grad school. They have a "working" knowledge of many concepts. Now, your situation is not a bad thing, I'm not trying to be negative, but just to understand that your anxiety is perfectly normal as you don't have the experience of some of your peers that may seem more relaxed and confident.

    It's one thing to graduate, pass the NCLEX and jump right into a NP program, quite another to have a few years in your pocket (might have already pumped a chest a few times, inserted PIVs/pushed cardiogenics, delivered a few kids or assisted with hundreds of surgeries). As a seasoned RN, you have the benefit of watching providers and learning how they think/act/perform and the outcomes, both positive and negative.

    One concept you are going to learn in clinicals, the book is not always "black and white." Read the chapter on cough/cold/flu and you see nothing about Warfarin. Which antibiotic are you going to Rx and why? Non-healing diabetic wound/ulcer, what's the best approach to the wound...likely not in the book, but most RNs have cared for these patients and can chime in on what works best. Crutch walking, catheters, trachs/ostomy, so many concepts that you learn while working as an RN, that will not be touched in grad school. This is why many BSN instructors will push you to get a year or two under your belt before taking the leap into grad school. Not required by any means, but definitely most helpful.

    I would further recommend at least some part-time work (if you can find it) to learn some of these helpful concepts. You'd be surprised how it will help build your confidence. Congratulations and best of luck, BTW...which specialty are you planning?
  7. by   ACorEtACri
    My specialty is women and adult health, but I really would prefer to practice women's health. I will only be working in primary care.

    Many of the local hospital refuse to hire full time students and they require a two year contract full time (most likely nights) after their new grad program (3 to 12 months depending on unit). My program is less than two years, and I have heard it is impossible to work full time later on in the program. I am also planning to move out of state to my bf and get married as soon as I finish. I would love to work in a primary care clinic but the market where my school is located is already flooded and clinics do not hire new grads.

    Half of the incoming class is new grads (5 out of 9) and the school has a 100% pass rate. My concern is just about the stress of life. My relationship is long distance, so not having weekends and working evening makes it even harder. The chronic stress has just been overhelming in addition to be cut off from my support system. I am just hoping grad school won't be as crazy especially since I will be working clinic hours.

    Thank you for the advice.