Q: Dear Donna,
I graduated with my BSN in December and would like to get my FNP. I have been an RN for seven years. I have researched various programs. What resources are available to help me make a sound decision on which FNP program I should choose?
Want to be an FNP
A: Dear Want to be an FNP,
What you should do is speak to other family nurse practitioners about the programs they attended and obtain their insights and advice. You should also speak to them before you take the next step to be sure it is the right path for you and then at least go in with your eyes wide open. Many nurses jump into programs and specialties without doing enough research.
Find other FNPs through your local chapter and national office of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org). Also ask around or connect with FNPs on social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter. Do an informational interview with several to learn more about the programs they attended as well as the rewards and challenges of being an advanced practice nurse, and specifically an FNP. To learn more about getting the most from an informational interview and conducting one, read my article “The scoop on informational interviewing.”
Although there is not one definitive source of information to help you choose a program, you should do an online search for “best graduate nursing program” rankings. These are done by several publications, associations and websites. Consider overall rankings, costs, financial aid availability, support provided for clinical site placement, length and flexibility of program and so on. Since student satisfaction is not always included in these rankings, you can ask each school if you can speak to current or former students.
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