Quote from km446
How long do the dual FNP/CNM programs take to complete? I'm interested in doing something like this and would probably want to get one degree first and then complete the other part time while I'm working under my first degree. I'm sure it varies by school which courses they will waive for the post masters part, but I'm just looking for an estimate. I'm going to be entering an accelerated/masters entry NP program this fall (either a 2 year or 3 year program) but was also accepted to med school so could accomplish these career goals in family practice as well. Would getting a dual cert FNP/CNM be a similar time/tuition committment as med school (4 yrs school and 3 residency)?
My dual specialty FNP/CNM program is two years (5 semesters, including one summer) full-time. I think this pretty much the norm (off the top of my health, Emory is the same length and so is U Mich, I believe). Many people do one specialty and then another as a post-masters however, just a heads up, federal financial aid will not cover a post-masters program (no grants, sub or unsub loans) so you’d be on your own to foot the bill. Scholarships and private loans can certainly be used if you can get them but just something to bear in mind. It’s one of the many reasons I choose to do the dual-specialty right away.
As far a going the physician vs. APN route, it really should be about more than time and money. A really good friend of mine and I were both pre-med as undergrads. We both also ended up back in nursing school after we had our first degrees and were both enrolled in advanced practice nursing programs. She dropped out of hers to go to med school and I’m obviously still in mine. She decided to leave her graduate nursing program just after she was awarded a full-ride scholarship for the entire program but it was the right decision for her. She was much more into the scientific basis of clinical practice than nursing offers. Not to say that there isn’t a rigorous scientific aspect in nursing but we both came from backgrounds in the hard sciences and, comparatively, nursing science seems like finger painting to us. I was talking to her after her advanced patho final which most nursing students abhor. She was frustrated at what she felt was the lack of rigor commenting, “Really? They’re going to let me diagnose and prescribe after THIS?” Med school is two years of just hard sciences whereas in nursing you get usually two classes with some science in clinical context. I’m not bashing nursing at all, I actually passed on med school because the nursing model was the right fit for me personally.
Financially speaking, med school vs. nursing school would really depend on which programs they are. My MSN will cost more than many med schools would cost for 4 years. Some med schools cost next to nothing whereas others will set you back quite a bit. Consider, though, that almost no one works during med school (certainly not nursing M3 or M4) but most people are able to work at least part-time through nursing school. Many nursing programs are specifically designed with the understanding that most students will still be working as an RN while in school. Med school + family med residency will take 7 years while a direct-entry MSN with a dual-specialty could be done in 3. One last point, while family medicine residencies are all required to prepare physicians in OB and women’s health, there is a very wide range in how well they do so. A lot of FP’s who want to really do OB do one of the fellowships available around the country (usually 1 year focusing solely on OB/women’s health). But then again, some unopposed family med programs have excellent OB content in the normal residency program.
I know this response is probably much longer than you were looking for but hopefully I could offer some thinking points. Best of luck with your decision and your career in healthcare, whatever it ends up looking like.