A little info about me, I am soon to be 20 years old and I am currently in my second semester of nursing school. (I am technically a junior in college.) I plan to attend an online BSN program shortly after, and then do a BSN-DNP bridge. Ultimately, I want to be a Geriatric Primary Care NP. Anytime I tell someone this i get "Why waste your time being a nurse? Just go to medical school and be a REAL doctor." I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for me to hear that. I have been to multiple MDs and NPs for my health and my family member's health. I have always thought that NPs have taken more time to explain the situation/issue with me and be somewhat more involved and available. (I have had a few wonderful MDs as well) I guess I am just frustrated by that response, as I am sure many practicing DNPs would be... Wow this is turning into a vent, my apologies. I guess I am asking why all of you NPs and DNPs out there decided to go this route instead of Medical school. Do you often get this response from people, and how do you respond? Do patient's in the hospital/office treat you differently than they would MD or do they trust your judgement? I still want to be an NP, I guess I am looking for some reassurance that you all love what you do or at the very least do not regret the path you chose. I appreciate all responses from students RNs, NPs... etc.
Jan 20, '13
First off: do what will make you happy and not what others think you should do. I wish I would have learned that earlier in life.
As far as the decision to go with nursing vs. medicine is concerned, my situation was a little different than yours. I went the second degree BSN route. I did a lot of research into paths into health care because I was unhappy with my current job and health care had always fascinated me. I wasn't a stellar student the first time around and my degree was in political science with no real hard science classes, so med school would have basically required me to complete a second degree anyway. I looked at PA programs but most of those would also require 3 - 4 semesters of prereqs / GPA padding plus taking the GRE. One of the PA programs I was considering was at a school that also recently started a Accelerated BSN program. That path would only cost me 2 semesters of prereqs, and be completed in 4 more semesters. That also allowed me to work sooner and gave me a pathway to becoming an NP. The DNP is really just a personal goal for me at this point. I can be 100% happy working within the NPs scope of practice, I don't need to be a MD or DO to reach my goal.
In your case you are a little bit younger. I don't know what your grades / aptitude is but medicine does offer some advantages. Pay being the biggest one. Having a goal to become a DNP is great, but don't limit yourself to one direction. There will always be someone who questions your judgement, they usually do it when they dont like what you say. If someone questions your choice, just tell them its the path that was most appealing to you / the path that made the most sense for what you want to do.
Hope that helps.
Jan 20, '13
I am asked occasionally why I didn't "just go to medical school." I simply tell the truth, priorities. Medical school and residency didn't offer the flexibility my priorities required. Most lay people have no idea what is entailed and think it is as simple as graduating from high school and going to medical school vs going to nursing school from that point. I do not believe my partner and I could have raised this family, shown them the world together, and established the life that we have if either of us had committed to an educational/career that carried the responsibilities to which that choice would have obliged me.
I was lucky. I found my life partner early. We had the opportunity and means to create the life we knew we wanted, and began our large family very early. If things had not worked so perfectly, I may well have made different educational and career choices. You make the choices that are perfect for you, and don't ever feel as though you need to explain them.
Jan 22, '13
Aspiring DNP student,
I would not go the DNP route if I was you. There is nothing a DNP can do that a masters prepared nurse practitioner can't do. If you are serious about the DNP thing you need to look at the curriculum they follow. They aren't any better prepared medically than a nurse practitioner with a masters. They also make the same amount of money in a clinical sense. They take more theory and some more health assessment classes. It's mostly fluff classes. There is no point in going the DNP route unless you have a lot of money to spend.
Also masters prepared NP programs aren't getting phased out. I just got off the phone with the CCNE and AACN. They said there was no such thing as that happening.
Do some research. Get back to me if you find anything different.
Jan 23, '13
Thanks so much for your responses! With my current grades and such I doubt i would have a problem with getting into med school. I suppose the reason I thought NP in the first place is because I am a good bedside nurse, and if for some reason I didn't continue on i could be satisfied with that. I have been an STNA for two years, it is something i fully enjoy. I also really like the approach of the body and illness as Mind, Body, and Spirit. In fact, the only thing about nursing I find frustrating is that the focus is less on the patient, and more on paperwork and satisfaction scores.
@ BlueDevil I really agree with the flexibility of it. My boyfriend is a little bit older (almost 6 years) and we would like to get married and have children within the next couple years (also want a larger family), so Medical school and residency would mostly likely really affect that poorly.
@ Nisteber Yes i have heard that the master's level nurses will not be getting phased out, and if they are not for some time. I have had the pleasure of dealing with multiple master's degree prepared NPs and they were wonderful, I certainly did not find them lacking. I guess the DNP is more of a personal goal, in the future I may very well choose to do a master's program instead. But I do enjoy school and I do not think the extra education would hurt.
Thank you all! I appreciate your responses so very much.
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