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Do you have any advice regarding programs that do not require any or minimal clinicals, perhaps an online program?

Friday May 4, 2012
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am an NNP with an associate’s degree and am interested in pursuing a BSN and MSN. However, I do not want to do the clinicals all over again. I have been a practitioner for more than 15 years. Do you have any advice regarding programs that do not require any or minimal clinicals, perhaps an online program?

LPRE

Dear Donna replies:

Dear LPRE,

By NNP I assume you mean neonatal nurse practitioner. It's very unusual for an NNP to have only an associate’s degree, but I know years ago various states had their own unique requirements.

In any event, many experienced nurses are returning to school for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore, many schools have clinical requirements that are not hospital-based. In other words, not a repeat of what you've already done. For example, a practicum in public health or community health might be all that is required. This usually is the case, even with an online BSN or MSN program. Clinical time can be arranged in your local area in this case.

At some schools, you might be able to have some of the clinical requirements waived, because of your unique background as an NP. Again, you'll have to speak directly to individual schools about that. You can also check with the National Association of Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (www.nannp.org), especially the state chapter where you were originally certified as an NNP, to see if they have more specific information related to your unique background and furthering your education.

Contact some area schools and online programs and talk to an admissions counselor to see what is involved. Many of us delay returning to school because of what we think we will have to do and never get solid factual information. You should consider an MSN bridge program to work on both degrees (BSN/MSN) at the same time. Do some research, get more information and move forward.

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.