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Routes to becoming a FNP

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:21pm

A reader asks:

“I’m currently taking my pre nursing classes at a community college. I can’t decide if I want to get my RN from the community college or if I want to just go ahead and get my BSN from a university. I was thinking I could just get my RN from the community college and work as a nurse, then get my BSN online later. My question is, if I want to eventually become a nurse practitioner, does it matter if HOW I get my RN?”

I will answer this from my own personal experience. I went to a community college to get my associate’s degree first because I had to get out and make some money quickly so that I could put my husband back through school. I was a little jealous of my friends who chose to go straight through and get their B.S. degree. But when it came time for getting our first jobs, they were making about fifty cents more than me. However, they were the first ones to be considered for promotion to management positions over me.

I began to work on my B.S. degree as I worked night shift as an R.N. and I really think it was the smartest move for me. When taking those senior level classes, things made so much more sense as I was writing papers based on personal experience rather than what I had only read in a text book. So, I will tell you that I found it to be much easier with work experience.

At that point, I realized that while I was in the school mode, I figured that it would be best to continue my education and apply to a NP program. I worked PRN at a hospital while I went to NP school. It was absolutely amazing how I began to put all of the pieces together and finally saw the whole picture of why I had been doing some things as a R.N. That was a really fun part of it all.

I will say that we wrote fewer papers in the associate program than my friends did in their BSN programs. But when you spend that extra year getting your BSN, you will primarily be writing papers and doing group projects probably. So, you will have the tools and experience that you need for graduate school. (where you will write TONS of papers!)

So, in answer to your question, I do not think it matters what track you take to becoming a NP. The requirements should be very similar, if not the same. So, it really depends on your time frame and how quickly you need to graduate. Choose the program that works best for you. Going to a community college should not be a barrier to getting into NP school. I did it. But whatever ramp you get on to go down the NP road, enjoy the whole ride. And document your journey. You’ll be glad you did.

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