Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I am currently in semester 2 of 7 of my graduate program to become an Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.

I'm enrolled in Advanced Pathophysiology and Nursing Research.

Patho has been...interesting. Without going into too much detail, our original professor who had been at the school for something like 20 years, suddenly was replaced with our new professor last week! Halfway through the semester, and we're left with little explanation about why he is no longer at the University, and now a new teacher with new style of teaching.

To be honest, while I hate this sudden change at the core, it has been good. The new professor is a Family Nurse Practitioner, has written 5 books in Pathophysiology, and plans to teach the course from a primary care standpoint, which I love! I need to learn this information in regards to how it relates to my career as an Advanced Practice Nurse. While the previous professor was incredibly smart in all things biology, patho, etc., I feel like this change is for the good in terms of learning patho in a clinical setting! She also does tons of research, so it's fun to hear about what she's doing in the lab. In addition, she's taken trips to Africa before with her students as a practitioner, which sounds amazing. I would love to do that someday.

Nursing research is...nursing research. It is what it is, if you know what I mean! Honestly, I don't hate it like some people, but I'm not all that engaged in this course. I am doing well on my papers, though, so that's encouraging. The thing is, I don't like learning about the research process, but I am intrigued by research in itself.

What I am currently internally struggling with is changing my concentration from Adult to Family. From the beginning, I've said that I want nothing to do with pediatrics, so why would I do Family Nurse Practitioner? But as I contemplate it more, having that overall knowledge would be highly beneficial for me professionally and even personally. I'm still young, so I'm not sure where my career is going to lead me. Perhaps it would be better to not limit myself to just Adults?
Especially since I love the preventative aspect of medicine so much. I'd love to look at the human body and health on a lifespan continuum. Without that pediatric knowledge, I feel like I am missing something. Also, pediatrics makes me nervous. I have no experience in it, especially with medications and dosing--it's a whole new world for me as an adult critical care nurse.

In addition, there's a lot of changes happening at the American Nurses Credentialing Center. They will be retiring the Adult Nurse Practitioner in 2014 and adopting a new credentialing certification.

Here is a list of all the credentials they will retire, as well as the link for more information about what this means:

  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist
Family Nurse Practitioner will stay the same.
With all of these changes, it makes me uneasy.

There is a little voice inside that is telling me to change...I'm not sure where it's stemming from, but I feel compelled to listen!

The crappy part for me is the extra semester of school. 8 semesters. Instead of graduating in December 2013, I'd finish May 2014. In my mind, this feels so far away, especially when I want to start a family soon. I'm not getting any younger at 27.

It's a big decision for me.
Any thoughts?


Colleen said...

My thoughts on anything school/career related (or anything time-constrained) would be to leave yourself with no regrets...so if delving into the adult-only practice and not the family practice might leave you with regrets, then I say go for it!

Brittany said...

interesting as far as credentialing goes! What about nurses who are already Adult Nurse Practitioners?

KingNewbs said...

I'll say this, as someone who is finishing his BSN in May of 2012, which still seems so far away I can't even believe it's only 8 weeks, I have absolutely no concept of May 2014. You might as well say May 2114!

Uh... that probably doesn't make you feel better though. Sorry. :)

Kidding aside, if you're gonna have to change, do it now and get it over with. That's my advice. Age ain't no thing. I'll be turning 34 two months after I graduate.

Cheers and good luck!

(found your block from your comment at friendly atheist)

Unknown said...

Much food for thought, although I'm still not buying the consensus model is anywhere close to implementation. I for one chose my 'specialty' or concentration based on the patient population I want to take care of (I think we've chatted about this before).
I too am not a fan of pediatrics, nor do I have any experience taking care of the lil' ones.
My only piece of advice would be: don't pursue FNP just because you want to expand your knowledge and be prepared. There is a lot of sacrifice and education that goes into 'across the lifespan' - be sure it's what you 'want' and not what you think you 'should' do.
Best of luck!

babycakes said...

I graduated as a family nurse practitioner in May of 2011. When I started my program back in 2007/2008 we had a choice of what concentration we wanted - adult, pedi, geri, family, etc. half way through the program they eliminated that choice and made Family the only option. I'm so glad they did, as I found I was FAR more marketable when applying for jobs having the FNP certification. That really is the wave of the future. Pretty soon there won't be anything but FNP - just like pretty soon there won't be anything but DNP (you'll have to get your doctorate to be an NP). So I say go for the FNP. You won't regret it! :)
~ JaimeFNP

Susan said...

I think it depends what you want to do in the end...if you want to work in a hospital adult unit (like your ICU, etc), then adult would be the way to go. But if you're interested in maybe doing outpatient or clinic or primary care or preventative health work, then I would think that FNP would be better. I'm fighting this own battle in my mind (and if I even want to be an NP!), and I think I'd go with FNP.