Choosing amongst schools, post-app frenzy

  1. I have a little dilemma:

    -I'm applying to accelerated programs. I'd like ultimately to work in a community clinic as a nurse practitioner. I've been working as a medical assistant in a community clinic and I love it. Money isn't a big deal to me, and I prefer to work less/moderate hours than make lots of money. Primary care and preventative medicine is my passion.
    -I've applied to a number of schools, and recently got into U of Miami's accelerated bachelor's program.

    1. Miami is 33k$. If you work for 2yrs in their hospitals (non-union, right to work, potentially bad working conditions, crazy hours, etc.) they pay the tuition for you. It would be different than what i want to do (community clinics), but maybe ok for a couple years. I might come to like it too outside of the scariness, and I do enjoy the class struggle
    2. Miami starts in early may. I also applied to an Oregon BSN program, and an direct entry masters NP program in Los Angeles. I hear from LA/OR in April. To get into LA I need two more prereqs, that i'll have to take and wouldn't help me get in anywhere but LA. The program only accepts 20 people, and my grades are pretty good (3.70 in prereqs, maybe a 3.4-3.5 or something overall). I'm worried I won't get in though it's my top choice.

    On the one hand Miami would be challenging, different, and exciting. There's a lot about the city that appeals to me, and I'm sick of Portland. On the other hand I'm sad to leave friends, the comfort of portland, and a liveable/bikeable city. My only other option is LA, which is also crazy to live in (grew up there). It is cheaper though (10k$/yr, but for 3yrs) and I'd come out a Nurse Practitioner.

    I'd also have to risk taking dumb classes, spending money, etc when I could get denied. Either way I'll have to plan to go to miami and switch everything last minute if I get in elsewhere I'd rather go.

    I'm pretty confused by the situation. I don't want anyone to tell me what to do, I know i'll figure it out eventually, but any perspective or advice from ye who went through it would be very helpful!

    thanks so much.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   wannabecatcher
    Booey,

    I was in your shoes not so long ago...weighing all the options of cost and location and degree. It is a tough one. For me, I knew before starting nursing school that I definitely wanted to go the midwifery track and so I applied to a few accelerated BSNs and to a few direct-entry Masters. I ended up getting into both types and I decided to do the accelerated BSN in the end. It was a hard decision because I already KNEW that I wanted to do the advanced practice degree and I really liked the idea that when I would be done I would be a Midwife (my dream for many years now) but I am so glad that I went the way I did. The thing many people don't realize before they start (i didn't either) is that if you do an accelerated BSN and then go on later to do the masters, it really is the same amount of time in school as if you went in to a direct entry masters program (3 years).

    The difference is when you get done with the BSN you can work for as long or short of time as you want and get the experience that you want (hopefully) and then when you are ready for the masters, you will have so many more options to choose from. Even if you decide to forgo working and go right into an NP program after you finish the accelerated BSN, that is an option. Across the US, they are quite a few direct-entry MSN programs (i looked at almost all of them!) but there are many many many more just regular MSN options out there. So your possible pool of schools is much larger and you will have more choice of where you want to live, what you want to pay, and what program fits you best. Also, if you work for a while before the MSN, you often can get your employer to pay for your graduate degree.

    The other thing that I have heard people talking about a lot on these forums as well as in the nursing community at my school is what it is like to be a new NP without much/any nursing work experience first. Many feel that nursing school prepares you well enough to just keep your head above water when you start working as a nurse...add on the responsibilities and level of expertise that is expected of an NP ...and you can see how difficult it might be for a newly graduated direct-entry NP. Of course it can be done and many do it well i'm sure, but it might be something else to think about.

    I myself decided on the "adventure" option and picked up and moved across the country (3000+ miles) and am happy with my choice. I am also happy that in May when I graduate, I will be moving back to the west coast to work and eventually do an advanced practice degree. I guess I am biased, but for me it has worked out really well.

    Good luck on your decision and congratulations on getting in U of Miami's program!

    Be well!
  4. by   fmrnicumom
    I just wanted to wish you luck as you make your decisions. It sounds like you are thoroughly thinking things through and I'm sure you will find the right decision for you.

    Good luck!
    Tiffany
  5. by   phosophorus
    thanks all for the advise! I am thinking about it some more...

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