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Route to FNP | Resources for Surviving NP School

Surviving NP school is no doubt important and crucial in order to be qualified to take the board exam and to become a nurse practitioner. My nurse practitioner program was a little...different. I had classmates who were part of the physician assistant program, and we took didactic classes together. Because the standards for physician assistant school is more stringent, our courses (as nurse practitioners) were taught PA-style (meaning we probably got a lot more information than a traditional NP program would have given). The difference between the NP student and the PA student at my school was really the clinical rotations. The PA students had more inpatient rotation opportunities and hours to meet. The NP students were pretty much given outpatient/primary care opportunities and had fewer rotations since we had fewer hours to meet.

But, I digress.

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Surviving NP school, whether you're in an online program and self-studying or you're in an in-person, brick-and-mortar program, can be tough in and of itself. Most people who continue on to get their NP certificate typically have some experience as a registered nurse. All of that is great, but depending on the type of experience and the setting the nurse has worked, there may be some gaps in knowledge and the learning of a new role/approach to medicine that might make NP school tough.

These are some resources I have used to help me study and to get me through my NP program.

  • PANCE Prep Pearls. If you're an NP student, you're probably wondering what the heck is PANCE. PANCE is the national examination that physician assistant hopefuls take to get certified. And now, you're probably wondering how a book that is geared towards the PANCE will help you. The truth is...medicine is medicine. This book offers the key points (or pearls, if you will) that you need to know to diagnose and treat for certain conditions. The book offers you the "down and dirty" without all of the fluff. You can purchase a copy of the book using the link above (no, I don't get any commission from this!). Some of my classmates had issues with ordering this book from Amazon due to there being fake versions of the book. The cover I have pictured is of the 2nd edition. It states on the main site that they have a 3rd edition coming out in December 2019, so if you're graduating after that time, I'd look into getting the 3rd edition.

  • Online MedEd. If you love to visualize and listen, this one is for you! Dr. Dustyn offers concise videos regarding different disease processes organized by body systems. The content is at the M3 (medical student, year 3) level, but it is just right for NP and PA students. It was actually one of my PA classmates who found the website and videos and shared it with the rest of us. I was set after that. The best part of this website is that the content is free! All you need to do is to make an account and register. Of course, if you want access to more content, they have subscription packages.

What the questions and answers look like once you're logged in and working on them.

  • Rosh Review. If you're the kind of person who struggles with how to answer questions and is up for a challenge, try Rosh Review. Although it is geared towards PA students, it is very helpful for NP students as well. I personally purchased the PA version of Rosh Review. Like I said earlier, medicine is medicine. The difference is really in the way the questions are asked. I really liked that they give detailed explanations of why answer choices were correct or incorrect and that they give you a picture/mnemonic to help you with the particular concept. Lastly, they ask you a question at the very end of each question, which makes you think a step further. The question bank does cost some money and works as a subscription. You may be able to get discounts if you and some friends sign up together. It was easily accessible via computer or their phone app, and I highly recommend this.

  • Exam Master. Exam Master was a question bank offered for free by the school. It allowed me to create either physician assistant or nurse practitioner practice questions. For me, Exam Master was helpful when preparing to take the FNP HESI exam that my school required the NP students to take in order to graduate. The only issue I had with Exam Master is that the questions are sometimes very lengthy (not really reflective of exam questions for AANP, at least), and sometimes there isn't much explanation as to why the choices are correct/incorrect. Based on what I found by browsing their website, if your school doesn't offer this for free, you can get it by subscribing to one of their packages.

  • Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. I (thankfully) had access to the online version of this book provided by the school. The book is very detailed and can be a bit overwhelming, although the information is solid. I would recommend searching through the book to help brush up on topics that you need/want additional information on. If you're a slower reader, this resource might not be the best for you, unless you have a lot of time. I'm not sure if they have come out with the "baby" (concise) version of this book, but they do have the "baby" version in the 19th edition.

I hope that you find one or two or some of these resources helpful for you as you begin/continue your journey through NP school! And, if you're already using any of these resources, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Nicole G.

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