FNP vs. WHNP

  1. Hello

    I will be applying NP school next year. I have a great interest in Women's Health. However, I am not sure whether it would be wiser to pursue an FNP degree rather than a WHNP especially if after finishing school I am limited to the areas in which I can/would live. I really only want to work in women's health but don't want to be worried about job prospects down the road when I cannot find any WHNP jobs in my desired areas of residence.
    Are there plenty of WHNP jobs out there (I am thinking other than planned parenthood, etc) that this shouldn't be a concern?
    Can FNPs work as a WHNP at a ob or gyn doctors office, etc? Would they be hired over a new WHNP grad if they are a new grad themselves? I don't mind working in a more generalized practice (family, internal med, peds, urgent, care, wellness) in the beginning right after I graduate but eventually want to work more full time in Women's health. As an FNP would I be credentialed enough to work in this field?
    Would it be better to shoot for PA instead?

    Any suggestions welcome!
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   joyrochelle
    Good morning,

    I was in your wxact same boat dear. I ultimately became a FNP, and Am actually interviewing for an OBGYN position in 2 days. You are wise to understand that a FNP brings you more prospects in the job market, as you can work in many other places including Planned Parenthoods, with cert as FNP. If you know you want nothing else other than womens health positions, maybe go for the WHNP, but if you want some options, do a FNP perhaps. In school you can do an elective clinical and you can get some more womens health exp that way, also working in womens health will always help you. Where are you in your profession? A PA (I've just learned this) can do deliveries and assist in c-sections here in CT, and they can specialize in anyway that they want dependent on what they do in school, so if you want to be more medically and procedurally trained, go for a PA program.
    As far as who would get hired; the WHNP or FNP new grads- well i think that would depend on their work experience and personality/exp and level of confidence....

    I hope this helps you!
  4. by   Susan H.
    I am thinking through the exact same thing! While I was in nursing school, I shadowed a WHNP in an OB clinic and LOVED it - I've always dreamed of getting to that position someday. Now I've been working as an RN for 7 years, none of it in OB, but am seriously looking into applying for NP school. I just can't decide which route to go, but am leaning towards FNP - from what I've researched, there are more options available with this degree plus I figure I can always go back and get a post-master's certificate in Women's Health which I think would make me more marketable to OB/GYN offices while still having all of the FNP options open.

    I don't have any experienced advice to give, but wanted to let you know there are others in the same situation! Good luck on deciding!
    Last edit by Susan H. on Oct 26, '10 : Reason: Typo
  5. by   Fade to Black...
    I was going through this same thing (trying to figure out what's more marketable), but I knew I wanted absolutely nothing to do with pediatrics. For that reason, FNP was out. Fortunately for me, my school offers a happy medium between FNP and WHNP---a dual certification program in WHNP and ANP. So this is what I chose and I'm pretty excited about starting school next fall!
  6. by   danceluver
    @ joyrochelle: Thanks for the feedback. I finished undergrad last year and have done both requirements for PA and NP, but prefer to do NP if i can given the practice ideals of NPs and I like being seen as a more independent. Sometimes it just seems there seems to be more PA jobs out there than NPs in women's health especially in non-rural areas. But i'm glad as an FNP you're getting to interview at an Ob/gyn office, congrats! Did you have any prior experience working in the field? Because I will be entering as a direct entry grad student (don't have my RN yet) I hope that I can do extended clinicals in women's health like you mentioned and market myself better that way! I was also thinking of doing the CNM/FNP program at Vanderbilt to help my credentials that way to possible also deliver babies and work in women's health. Does that sound practical? Are there huge differences between a PA ob/gyn and WHNP besides delivering babies and doing surgery?

    @ SusanH: Thanks for the words of encouragement, I hope in the end i do make the right decision for myself.

    @ LaBrittany: What school are you at?

    More suggestions are welcome, thanks for the help so far!
  7. by   Fade to Black...
    Like you, I'm going straight through from BSN to MSN. I'm at Emory and I chose this particular program (WHNP/ANP) because it gives me that Women's Health specialization (which was really important to me) and also allows me to be marketable in another area with the Adult NP portion. If I'm not mistaken, Vandy also has this track. I guess I could have done this with FNP, but I preferred to get the 600 hrs of WH clinical (in the WHNP program) versus the 100 WH hours (in the FNP program). If it means anything to you, though, my OB/GYN provider is actually an FNP.
    It's really just a personal decision that you'll have to make and this is the one I chose. I'm sure you'll figure out what is best for you. Good luck with applications and everything!
  8. by   jordanpa18
    Hi, I am sorry to say I can't answer your question but I am in the exact same position! I am a BSN 1yr out of school and currently working in Women's Health at a public health clinic and love this area so much. It's the ONLY area I am passionate about working as an NP. I am from a more rural area and really want to be able to gain employment as a WHNP! I am currently trying to figure out if I should go the FNP route which seems smarter employment wise but doesn't interest me at all or WHNP which is my true passion. In our women's health clinic we have both FNPs and WHNPs. I will keep my eye on your post to see what kind of responses you get. Good luck!
  9. by   Blessedx3
    At a recent Fitzgerald Board review course--the FNP's were by far the most marketable. The WHNP's around here can't find work. Fitz said that in the future--all specialties would be based around an FNP core--with specialty beyond that. I think that provides a great foundation. Good luck.
  10. by   danceluver
    any updates on this thread? Can an FNP be hired in an ob/gyn office? What sort of things should i be doing in school in order to help facilitate this? Do extra elective rotations? Work as an RN in a women's health practice doing NP school? I think an FNP would be perhaps better, suggestions to increase your marketability over a whnp for the same job would help
  11. by   BirthBabes&Boobs
    I'm in this position now. I'm wondering if anyone has any new information to add to this thread. I'm currently in an FNP program and while I know this will make me more marketable, I'm not sure I want to work in that market. I have been an L&D nurse all 8 years of my nursing career, and also a lactation consultant. I am passionate about women's health and absolutely HATE the material I'm learning about. I'm just so torn. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
  12. by   __patiently_waiting
    Quote from BirthBabes&Boobs
    I'm in this position now. I'm wondering if anyone has any new information to add to this thread. I'm currently in an FNP program and while I know this will make me more marketable, I'm not sure I want to work in that market. I have been an L&D nurse all 8 years of my nursing career, and also a lactation consultant. I am passionate about women's health and absolutely HATE the material I'm learning about. I'm just so torn. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    I'm kind of in your position now. Although I'm not in an NP program yet, I plan on applying next year. I feel as though Women's Health is the ONLY area that I want to work in, however, I know that it might be extremely difficult gaining employment after graduation. So right now my dilemma is: go to school for FNP, absolutely HATE the material I learn about and the clinical portion, BUT be more flexible after graduation, or, go for WHNP, love the material/clinical, but deal with the difficulties of not finding a job right away. Pretty hard decision to make.

    Right now I've just decided to volunteer in a Women's Health clinic to get my feet wet (no previous WH experience), and see where that leads me. Maybe I'll be able to network, meet some great people, and it might lessen the burden of finding a job after graduation. Nothing set in stone, but it sounds like a decent plan. I guess we'll see how well that goes in due time.
  13. by   firerooster
    Hi, I am curious to know if you ended up working in OBGYN? I got admitted for WHNP program but i'm thinking about switching to family practice. I def want to only work in OBGYN.
  14. by   firerooster
    Did you end up in going to WHNP or FNP track? Just curious.

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