How to Prepare for Nurse Practitioner School

How to Prepare for Nurse Practitioner School

Are you in the process of choosing a nurse practitioner program? Or, have you been accepted to a program and are just waiting for classes to start? If you wondering how to prepare for nurse practitioner school, here is a list of things to do before you apply or start a program:

  • Build a personal and school financial plan. Many job schedules are not compatible with the schedule of nurse practitioner school clinicals. Nurse practitioner students may be unable to work and attend school at the same time unless they have an extremely flexible job. For those students, their financial situation may require paying off debt and utilizing savings during school. Have a plan to pay for school. What is the best financial decision for your personal situation? Will you take out student loans?
  • Review Anatomy & Physiology (A & P) in detail before beginning your program. Most nurse practitioner program’s curriculum requires that students have detailed knowledge of A & P. From head to toe, you will need to know it all.
  • Learn how to use the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Learn the rules now to save time later when you are writing research papers for your school program. A great way to learn is to use old papers from your undergraduate nursing program. Use the latest APA edition to correctly format your old papers for practice.
  • Start studying early for your Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). While not all nurse practitioner programs require that you take a GRE in order to be admitted, the vast majority will require that you take one. Schools use student’s scores to determine admittance to their programs. You will need excellent scores on this test in order to get into the most competitive nurse practitioner programs.
  • Earn great grades in undergraduate school. Past grades in undergraduate nursing school are also considered when reviewing student admission applications. Research your programs of interest to see what admission committees expect your grade point average to be.
  • Apply to several programs. Make sure you have options in case you do not get accepted into your dream program. Even if you think that your dream program is the only program you would like to attend, have a backup program  shopbust   lined up in case you change your mind.
  • Work as a nurse in the area that you wish to become a nurse practitioner in or at least work in a beneficial one. While this is not mandatory in some cases, the more applicable experience you gain before starting your nurse practitioner program, the less the learning curve. For example, it would be more beneficial to work as a registered nurse in adult critical care than as a neonatal intensive care nurse if you plan to be a family nurse practitioner.
  • Make sure you have the time to commit to a nurse practitioner program and your personal life is stable. Nurse practitioner school is a time consuming commitment. Use the process of self-reflection to consider if school is an option for your life.

How did you prepare for nurse practitioner school? Be sure and leave your comments below.

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Erica MacDonald
 

Erica RN, BSN, MSN's nursing clinical experience has been in neonatal intensive care (NICU) and Labor & Delivery. She currently works as a nurse educator and nurse writer. In her writing business, she saves educators and businesses time while supporting their mission.

Join Erica each week as she discusses nursing education, careers, and advice for prospective nurse practitioners or anyone interested in learning more about the profession. In the meantime, follow Erica on Google+.