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After finishing undergrad, is it smart to go straight to a Masters program with a NP concentration with no experience as an RN?

May 30th, 2022

Haha everyone is saying no, but Is forgetting that you can gain experience as a RN while working and going to school to get your NP. Also, many nurses have applied to MSN programs with 1 year of experience. If physician assistants can do it… why can’t nurses?? PAs don’t learn clinical skills or anything in their undergraduate years, just sciences. Then they complete 2-3 years of grad school and become a provider. I’m my opinion to each their own!!! If PAs can do it nurses definitely can!!!

May 26th, 2022

NO!! Go work for a couple of years. What you think you will like isn’t always the same after a little time. You would have a lot of theory and how it is supposed to be, but not the hands on. (And no, clinicals are not the same as really working)

June 21st, 2022

Being a very seasoned nurse, I feel that all new grads should experience nursing as a staff nurse. I have noticed that the nursing programs offered at university level do not adequately prepare the young nurses for skills, prioritizing, or critical thinking. Yes, they do receive some of this but not enough to make safe decisions. To be a good NP, I feel one needs additional knowledge and experience of nursing. Many of the new grads come to this career with unrealistic expectations.
Also, why invest into a program without knowing if this is the right area of practice for them. Nursing has become so specialized. One can concentrate on Cardiac, Intensive or Critical Care, Neonatal, etc. but which one is the right fit for that person.
New Grads need to be mentored so they will be successful in their endeavors. The old saying that old nurses eat their young needs to stop. New Grads must realize there is much to learn. New Grads should enter this field with an open mind and become a sponge, learning from the seasoned nurses. Seasons nurses should take the new grads under their wings and encourage them to be successful.
A Masters program with a NP concentration should have a requirement of x number of years of experience prior to allowing on to study.

May 9th, 2022

I would say no. Experience will help you gain knowledge you could use when perusing a NP degree

June 19th, 2022

Absolutely not. Best to get 3-5 years of ER, ICU under your belt. Figure out if there is a specialty you like. We just had this discussion in our DNP program. Some states a person can go straight thru school and open their primary care office by age 25 but have almost zero real world experience as a healthcare provider. Believe me, real world experience is where you really learn, school cannot teach experience. I have 22 years' experience as RN, I'm 12 months left on a DNP/FNP. If I work fulltime for 3,000 hours, I can open my own Primary Care or Family Care Practice. After 22 years with ER, ICU, step down, and high-risk OB and L&D, I am not that nervous. I have a lot of background experience in a lot of areas plus I now have a huge circle of mentors that I have known for a very long time.

May 29th, 2022

No. I’m not sure why this is even allowed. Where I’m working now the NP’s I have to work with are dangerous, they have no critical thinking skill. For example, I had a surgical post op that had 2 units of blood ordered for hgb 5.6. The day before this patient was 9.4 hgb, and VS were stable. I’ve had enough clinical experience to know how a patient would present with that big of a drop in hgb, they’re bp would be tanking. I just reordered the labs and hgb came back 8.4 and he didn’t need 2 units. This is what the NP should have done.

May 10th, 2022

No. You need experience as a nurse not only to be a good NP, but many if not most programs require that you have a certain number of years in working as an RN before starting.
Working prior will also help you understand a lot of the things you will be expanding on as an NP once you get that far.

May 29th, 2022

NO. There is no substitute for high quality patient care, knowledge and confidence than bedside nursing. The mundane, stressful, and challenging tasks you do shift after after after shift really strengthen your skill set which is critically important to be a high- quality, well-rounded and effective provider.

May 28th, 2022

No, you lose critical thinking and process understandings. You need that time to learn how to be a nurse

September 29th, 2022

I do not recommend it. Advanced Practice Nursing is just that...advanced practice of nursing. You cannot be advanced in a practice you do not know. Nurses who have worked for several years do much better in nurse practitioner programs because they have the good foundation of nursing skills and knowledge. CRNA students cannot even get into school without having some type of critical care experience. I wish the nurse practitioner schools followed the same model. Just like nursing school, you leave with the minimum skills necssary and the rest you gain while practicing. You need to have a good core of assessment, advocacy, skills, and medication knowledge. Do yourself a favor and work for a few years and find your niche. I am a family nurse practitioner. I chose that field because I wanted the widest range of job opportunities. I can specialize in children, adults, geriatrics, whatever I want. If I had chosen Adult, Pediatrics, or Acute Care I would be locked in to those areas only.

June 15th, 2022

No, a few years experience should be required by all NP programs.

May 9th, 2022

I would say no. You really do need to have RN experience in order to be a knowledgeable NP. The experience is very important. You do not learn in school everything you would need to know as an RN or an NP. For example, dealing with patients and their families as well as their needs. School is only book knowledge. You need to learn by experience how to render emotional support to them in their time of need. There is no room for indifference in nursing. Life experience is very important.

June 14th, 2022

Yes. Why not? I did, because I knew from day one I did not want to be an RN; my goal was as Medical Provider, NP. RN and NP are completely different. RN, you have no decision making capacity, no prescriber rights, not able to make a medical diagnosis. As NP, you get to use your education and critical thinking skills to do all of the above. If you like a higher level of challenge, as well as the responsibility that comes with that, yes, continue with NP training immediately.

June 5th, 2022

Yes go for it! Get your degree in what you want your career to be. Experience is great but you will lose most of the “book knowledge” you have now and you will need that to get through NP school. You will have lots of time following a preceptor and learning the NP role which is different from bedside role. And when you graduate with your NP you will have a solid base of knowledge, and gradually add the experience. So you may start as an NP behind in the experience department which is a disadvantage in the beginning, but you can gradually add the experience on your solid science knowledge and come out ahead in the long run. And you may eventually decide to work as an NP in a different specialty than the RN experience that you put school off to gain.

June 5th, 2022

I have 40+ years as an ICU nurse at bedside. Let me ask you a few questions. What are you looking at specializing in? Family practice? Pediatrics? OB/Gyn? Gerontology? What you think you want now may change as you work in the field. Is it possible to work and take a few classes at the same time? This would help you understand where you would like to practice.For me, I started out general Med/Surg and found my niche was Critical Care. I specialized in Cardiovascular (bypass, Ecmo, LVAD). Find your groove and you will love your career☺️

May 30th, 2022

No. I would recommend getting some work experience as an RN before going on to ANY advanced degree education. You will have much more confidence in your skills & abilities, and well as “street cred” with your peers. Nurses know when someone has gone from undergrad to grad school without any “real world” experience, and are generally not thought of highly. You will thank yourself and so will your future patients.

May 11th, 2022

No, it truly wouldn’t. I agree with the other answers here too- to be licensed and have a title of a “Nurse Practitioner” without actually practicing as a nurse doesn’t make too much sense really. I mean, you do want to be a in the nursing field and yes maybe work up to NP after actually being an RN, but NPs are still nurses practicing nursing. Idk just a thought. if I were you I would really work as an RN first, actually get your hands wet. Think of it like when students say “they’re going to be a CRNA” and haven’t even finished prerequisites for nursing school you know? Either way it’s your choice, but hey you might even find your niche as an RN if you just get some of that experience in at least- maybe in a specialty or something else. Tbh I didn’t even know you could go straight to NP without Rn experience 🤷🏼‍♀️Oh well Hope this helps - good luck!!

July 12th, 2022

I worked with a new grad NP who transitioned from a degree in business to a graduate NP program. She had book smarts but ZERO real world patient experience. I was her preceptor and she definitely struggled with critical thinking and multitasking. Two crucial skills developed with bedside, especially ICU, nursing experience. I strongly disagree with any program that churns out an NP without any clinical nursing experience. People who want this need to go down the PA path. Patients love NPs BECAUSE they are nurses!!! That unique background gives us the perspective and opportunity to assist our patients not just with assessment, diagnosis and treatment but with advocacy on all levels
Carolyn Wagner RN, FNP-BC MS

June 5th, 2022

NO, because you bypass real patient care knowledge only acquired by true hands on nursing that can not be taught in a class or book only situations.

June 1st, 2022

No Beacuse experience make perfect to all things

January 12th, 2023

From my perspective, no. I applied for an NP program for the semester after I graduated. Had I been accepted, I would have had no clue about direct patient care. My experience being a nursing student was much different than my experience as a novice nurse. That said, I’ve been working in psychiatry for 13 years—long-term care, acute care, and crisis/emergency care. Now I am in a DNP program at the University of Maryland. Not only did I get much-needed experience, but I have also matured. There’s a big difference between 26 and 39. Good luck with what you choose to do. It is your decision.

June 6th, 2022

From talking to a lot of the NPs I work with - the experience from there time as an RN really helped them in school and practice. I'm looking at getting an NP as well and on average they suggested 2-5 years of experience before moving onto NP.

December 20th, 2022

Working in a hospital can be a daunting experience, especially for somebody who has no experience doing so. As a clinical NP many times the expectation is that you be rounding in place of a doctor to off load some of their patient care duties while their in clinic, in surgery, at another facility, etc. As the charge nurse on a critical care floor I have had many doctors ask my opinion on students going through NP school because they want to know if the student is ready to take on the role professionally of being their right hand. When the doctors at our hospital find our nurses are going through NP school they specifically recruit them to come work for them. Your going to be a new NP no matter what after graduating, everybody is no matter what your background. But working on the floors teaches you how medical interdisciplinary teams function, hospital hierarchy and politics, community resources, case management and insurance for their specialties, charting and EHRs.... all these things that take a long time to learn as a new grad, nurses who work on the floors ahead of time already know because they've been doing it already.

June 6th, 2022

yes should iapply for my master for NP right after my undergraduate?

June 5th, 2023

If it’s something that you really want to do, I say go for it.
I did and I do not regret it all. I took the summer off after graduating with my BSN, then applied for NP school the following fall semester. I did work as a bedside RN throughout all of NP school and by the time I got my masters, I had about 2.5yrs of bedside experience. And the RN role and NP role are completely different. I specialized in Primary Care which was COMPLETELY different then anything I could have done as an RN anyways. It will be a new role, most likely new environment as well. Regardless, it’s a whole different learning curve.

Just like you, I always had my heart set on being an NP, and I’m glad I went for it. 😊 besides this is how PA schooling is set up, and there a few direct NP programs out there in the US as well.

March 21st, 2023

Absolutely! I did that at UCLA in 1979. I’ve never regretted it and graduated in 1981.

March 12th, 2023

In my humble opinion no. You should apply your practice and then make a decision what kind of graduate program you would like to take. There are a lot of choices for masters in Nursing. Choose wisely.

In addition, my opinion again others will respect that you practiced before going straight into your doctorate or masters. Makes a huge difference when teaching others.

March 1st, 2023

NOOOOOOO!!! Most programs won’t take you unless you have experience.

February 13th, 2023

I'm two months from graduation for FNP and I cannot stress how much I have relied upon the experiences I've had during my nursing career. I strongly feel that everyone should be required to have nursing experience before pursuing a graduate degree. You need real world experience, critical thinking, and time management.

February 1st, 2023

I worked as an RN in Labor and Delivery for 9 years before I went to get my NP. You need to be a nurse 1st! I have been an NP for 25 years. That is my opinion. Back then you could not apply to an NP program unless you had a minimum of 2 yrs experience as an RN.

February 1st, 2023

Absolutely!!! Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today...

January 26th, 2023

No but I did it

December 22nd, 2022

That would be a huge NO. You need to gain your critical thinking skills and that takes working to gain the knowledge and signs of what to look for. 🤔

December 22nd, 2022

No. The NP role is designed for nurses that have a great deal of bed-side experience and competency. If you want to go straight into a masters program I would recommend the physician assistant program.

November 28th, 2022

I had the same question before I started my APRN program. I felt like I needed to work for a few years first, so I began working FT while doing my coursework part-time. I quickly learned that, although there are skills and knowledge that inform your APRN career, the roles are apples and oranges. Like doctors, the APRN is a provider whose focus is more the disease. I love that being a nurse within the APRN role prepares us to heal the whole person; not just the disease. However, academically and practically speaking, I think I would've been fine going straight to school and learning via clinicals and residencies like MDs. I've heard plenty of APRN program directors (and I spoke to many before deciding to become an NP) who told me the same thing but I still didn't quite believe in going straight into academics without RN experience. But I understand now why those program directors said not to feel obligated to do so. Of course, it all depends of the RN experience, too. If you're working in the ER, ICU or acute care, those areas may better prep you as an APRN than other areas. Or, if you know the focus area, you could work (hopefully alongside an NP) with that patient population to inform your academics.

November 22nd, 2022

It would depend. If you like ambulatory care and are well versed in one field such as women's health, that may be a good fit. Otherwise, get a solid year of med surg or long term care to get the feel of specialization. RN NP of 30 years.

October 27th, 2022

I always thought that the NP programs required experience? Can you go directly into a program without it?!

June 13th, 2022

Generally 2 yrs of nursing would help you in ARNP program and when you begin career as an ARNP.

June 5th, 2022

After completing graduation from 2017 now continue working in different hospitals at bed side .

June 5th, 2022


June 14th, 2022

Nursing is different compared to other programs such as PA, Medicine, or even physical therapy where if you want to go on to a graduate degree work experience can be important. Just telling someone to work as an RN to get experience is not very helpful. Depending on where you live and your first job you might not be surrounded by supportive mentors that will help guide you. Considering why you want to do a master's program may help to determine what area you want to go into or if you want to do something slightly different. I did an accelerated BSN program after college and then worked for a few years as an RN while considering what advanced education I wanted to do. I did not like bedside nursing, did find it valuable, and wanted to do more immediately when I started. The only reason to start working as an RN before starting an NP program is for work experience and networking. I would highly encourage you to seek out NPs in your area to shadow or at least talk to get an understanding of the job role. Obtaining a graduate degree in public health or an MBA could be an option or at least work a little while as an RN and obtain additional certifications in clinical areas or non-clinical areas.