Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An interview with a CRNP that’s worth her salt!

How did you survive grad school?

I did my 24-month full-time FNP program in 14 months with the love and support of my family and because I was a crazy anal RN just like every other RN worth their salt. My husband was very (ok, not that much, but he came around!) supportive. I have 4 boys (now 17, 16, 15, & 14) who were enough on their own that they understood that Mum had shit to do. The dogs occasionally pooped on the floor and no one blamed me -- that helped! And having a housekeeper once every two weeks was *essential!* I worked full-timeish agency in ER/Critical care, so the money I brought in was excellent. I think the best thing I did during grad school was move away from the ICU (MICU/SICU) and into the ER -- it REALLY improved my assessment skills so that I could use them everyday that I worked and hone them for school. Also, I made sure that when I decided I was not going to do anything, I *didn't* do ANYTHING -- and had extra wine on hand! And learned to make sure to NOT FEEL GUILTY about it. That is hard for nurses.

Why should we go continue up the ladder into grad school?

I think the best thing to remember is that Nurses are Fucking Smart. We know our shit. We didn't become RNs by someone tapping us on the shoulder with the Nightingale Flame. We decided to go to grad school because We Know Our Shit and want to move forward rather than keep wiping ass every day. We know we can HELP these patients. We know what we know -- and the caring aspect of nursing is a HUGE aspect in caring for patients and making them feel better. We know that. That is what brings us to becoming nurse practitioners. We know these patients need what we have as nurses, and we know we're smart enough to deal with the medical diagnosis, testing, interpreting, and care planning. As RNs we rely on this knowledge every day -- we have to... if we don't, and we don't question that weird order from the physician, We Will Get Sued. We already know the basics of being an NP and being a primary care provider as RNs... And some of us take the plunge (and the pay cut! DOH!) to actually BE the Primary Care Provider.

And we are fulfilled. This is the best job in the world!

I also think that if you're already a mom (or dad!), you have a leg up on the non-parental NP students. Mom/Dad knowledge goes a LONG way with nursing and primary care. Don't know what you're doing? Think about it... What would you do as a parent? What would you tell this patient if they were your kid? Your answer is there if you're anything like most of the parents I know.

I’ve heard that grad school grades are important. Are they?

Being an NP isn't hard. School is a bitch until you realize how much you know, and how little you really have to do, in order to get what you want from school. Worrying about grades was the *biggest* waste of my time *ever.* Ever. I went on a BUNCH of interviews and NO ONE cared, or ever even asked!, about my GPA (all said and done and graduated I had a 3.875 -- I was so proud and so pissed and NO ONE WHO WAS GOING TO PAY ME ACTUALLY CARED. Tough lesson for me.). Obviously you can't get shitty grades all the time in school and do well, but no one who goes to grad school does that... so let the grades go.

What advice would you give to grad students during their preceptorships?

Learn what you can, whenever you can, and take every opportunity to make mistakes. Do all that while you're a student, because no one will sue you. Sounds harsh, but true -- and Hell -- may as well let that couple hundred $$ you paid for the liability insurance pay off! I'm only half joking here. You are learning under someone else's license and you (obviously!) don't want to get them sued, but if they are a preceptor worth their salt, they won't let you fuck up. Take advantage of it. You have every day during your schooling to learn everything you can, so DO IT. You paid for it! Make those student loans worth it! Don't worry about being perfect -- YOU'RE NOT. You're learning... your preceptors know that, your program director knows that, and your instructors are all over it. Now is the time to do it wrong, learn from y our mistake, and do it right the next time. You won't get this opportunity when you graduate. If some physician you respect says, "hey you should follow me for a day," TAKE THEM UP ON IT. It may not be in the field you want, or are even interested in, but take it. You will make a connection that may be valuable one day when you are on your own -- and you will learn!

If you enjoyed this interview and would like to here more from this NP on my site, please leave a comment. I'm really thinking of inviting her to be a co-blogger..

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  1. Anonymous3:07 AM

    I wouldn't go to this crass, potty-mouthed woman if I were dying. She doesn't speak professionally and most likely doesn't act professionally. If you don't think AS A NURSE that animals pooping in your house is sanitary then what kind of germs are you spreading to your clients/patients.

  2. Anonymous, I'm sure that she doesn't speak like that to her patients and I'm sure that animal poo is unsanitary. What she means, I'm assuming, is that she was so busy that it happened and everyone realized that and didn't get mad at her? Anyway.. I printed it exactly how she wrote it because it was an interview. I don't curse on my blog very much as you can tell if you read it. Thanks for leaving a comment and I hope that you return sometime.

  3. Anonymous5:46 PM

    Anonymous should shut their pie hole and get the stick out of their butt!!!! Get over yourself and try to look at the big picture of what she is saying. There is a lot of truth to what she has to say. You probably work in administration.

  4. Thanks Anonymous2! There are lots of people who wish they could say what the interviewed NP said but don't have the cajones. I wish I could say more of what's on my mind too but I have to keep a civil tongue or lose my house.

  5. Would like more advice if possible, I am an average student, in nursing now for 10 years. I would like to start a NP program this summer and am quite worried I will not make it through it. I have a 3.2 GPA nothing to brag about. I work full time and will be going to school God willing part time. Any words of advice?

  6. I don't think that your grade point average makes that much difference Becky. As long as it's at least 3.0 or higher for most colleges. I am assuming that you already have your BSN? You have to make a 1000 on a GRE exam for most colleges but FSU let my 940 slide due to my GPA being higher. Also, I did my BSN through them. I did the part time school and full time work the entire time except for the last year which was pretty much full time both. I used a lot of loans and used up a lot of my banked PTO time. No such thing as a vacation.. I hope that you decide to forge ahead. It is well worth the aggravation! I love being a NP. Thanks for leaving a comment and come back soon!

  7. Haha! Love it! Keep blogging and I will keep reading! By the way, she's just keeping it real. And people have their professional way of speaking and their true " I don't give a shit" way of speaking. Wow it's kinda sad that some people don't get that!

  8. I'm glad that you enjoyed it Soragamii. Sometimes people are a little offended but the truth has a edge to it at times. I hope you stop back by soon.

  9. Anonymous10:31 PM

    I don't know any serious nurses that don't cuss. Hahaha. The things we deal with you certainly need a sense of humor. Where did you complete your degree? I was a bit of a partier in college (mediocre gpa) and have since worked in a level one trauma center x 4 years, and really want to get into np school.

  10. Anonymous, I completed my ADN at Lake City Community College. I did my BSN and MSN through Florida State University online while working full time as a floor nurse at my local hospital. It was difficult, but not impossible. I hope you continue your education and join our ranks as a NP.

  11. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Such a inspiration to a sarcastic ADN student that hopes someday to move on up...for those stuck up people "EAT IT" this is my kind of folks

  12. Shannon6:33 PM

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It gave me a little hope. I am in my first semester of my MSN and everyday I wonder why the hell am I doing this.
    What you said is true, all the people that know their shit are the really good nurses. I don't want to be one of those people that just comes to work for a paycheck I want to love my job and be good at it.

  13. Hanalei11:08 PM

    I am currently taking my MSN online with University of Phoenix... I did not get into a concentration because they did not have that available for the NP program. After this, I plan to take my concentration in NP... I am still deciding what field. I also want to know how much they make hourly or yearly in Jacksonville as I have searched so many sites with different answers. I just wish an ARNP could tell me once and for all. Does anyone know which field is less stressful, has a 12-hour shift x3, and make good money, so I can still have more time for my family and my vacations? Please let me know... Thanks

  14. Hanalei, Nurses with Master's Degrees don't usually work three 12 hour days. Family NP track is your best bet for finding a job. I work in a rural setting so I can't speak for Jacksonville area pay. You will get two weeks vacation and one week CME from most employers. The average pay in my area is anywhere from 75,000 to 95,000 depending on experience. Hope this helps!

  15. michael8:30 PM

    any doofus that uses the phrase "potty mouth" needs to go back to moron school. seriously, is this like Sesame Street Nursing?