Best path towards DNP in geriatric medicine

  1. I am curious as to everyone's opinion on the best way to move towards my DNP in geriatric medicine. I am currently working in elderly LTC. I will be starting my DNP program next fall with a focus on geriatric medicine. Do you think that potential employers will take me seriously if I have only worked in the LTC/Assisted living environment? Are there any other steps that I can take that will support my career goals? Would I be better off if I spend some time working in the hospital setting (I have only worked in ALF/SNF environment.)?

    Thankk you in advance for all of the advice!!!!
  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   llg
    What type of work do you want to do with your DNP? What functional role will you be focusing on? NP? CNS? Remember, a DNP is an academic degee ... it is NOT a specific role or job. Would your future dream job be a natural progression from the type of work you are currently doing? If so, you are right on track. If not, then you should try to get some work experience relevant to the field and role you hope to work in.

    For example, would you want to work in an LTC facility, retirement community, etc. as a coordinator of care or services? Or would you want to be a CNS in an acute care hospital? Would you want to work as a NP for a physician practice? etc. You need to figure that out before you can answer your questions about the fit between your current work and your hopes for the future.

    And you might want to start thinking in terms of advanced nursing roles -- as opposed to thinking of it as "geriatric medicine." A DNP will not qualify you to practice medicine. You'll still be a nurse (and not a physician) when you graduate.
  4. by   julz1980
    Hi LLG. Thanks for the response.
    I guess I didn't state that very well. I am planning to get my DNP so that I can work as a nurse practitioner in a physician's office for adult medicine (preferably just geriatric medicine). And there are multiple states in which a nurse practitioner can practice independently, so I try to keep that in mind when planning my academic future. I believe that more states will adopt these practice guidelines as time goes on.

    In a perfect world, the practice I work in as an NP will contract a day or two of each week with some LTCs and Assisted Living facilities so that patients can be seen in their home environment instead of having to come to the office.

    So, hopefully this is a better explanation of what I am working towards. I *think*?? I am on the right path, but would love to hear from people who have walked in these shoes before.
    Last edit by julz1980 on Nov 4, '12
  5. by   AngelRN27
    I, too, plan on pursuing my DNP in the coming years (although I do not necessarily want to specialize in Geri as you do). I also plan to use my DNP as a means of working as a Nurse Practitioner. I'm not sure about "employers taking you seriously" as this is a very subjective thing, but generally speaking, I would say you should seek some hospital experience as well. Remember that your DNP will prepare you for a much larger scope of practice and therefore will encompass things that you may not be exposed to in a LTC environment. I am a big proponent of clinical experience vs. theory. Your DNP will equip you with a vast scope of "theory" and "evidence based practice" that (IMHO) would be somewhat of a waste if not put into PRACTICE by you, the learner.

    Just my two cents.
  6. by   NPjh
    If you're wanting a position in an office setting after graduation, then I suggest more experience in that setting.
  7. by   julz1980
    Thanks for all of the advice!!!