Process of becoming an NP

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    Hi, I am currently starting a BSN program in January with the ultimate goal of becoming an NP. I live in California and am wondering what the process here is? Do I get my MSN, and then apply to an NP program? What is the average length of time and will I be able to work as nurse while I go to school? Any info, thoughts or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
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    After your BSN, you would need to be admitted into a MSN-NP program. There are some I heard that get into MSN programs with no experience as a RN and there are more folks that say there is an unspoken rule that you must have one year of experience as a RN to be even remotely competitive for a MSN-NP program. Depending on where you are in Cali, there are usually more applicants than seats in a NP program. Best of luck to you in your BSN program! Working as a nurse while you go to school is a personal matter, only you can decide whether this will work with your budget, social life, etc. Length of programs vary greatly, but in general with the lots of NP programs no longer doing MSN's the new norm will be BSN to DNP that includes NP certification. It can be confusing especially with the new regs trying to get pushed through with education reform. PM me if you have questions.
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    There truly are many paths from where you are to becoming an NP. Most want you to have a BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) degree prior to getting either a Masters in Science in Nursing (MSN)/NP degree or a Doctorate in Nurse Practitioner (DNP) degree. Either of those, MSN or DNP will be the degree you need to sit for the national boards and become licensed to practice as a Nurse Practitioner. There are a few programs that include the BSN portion. Some grant the BSN degree along the way, and others do not, but in either case you could apply and enter one of those programs without getting a BSN first.
    As some have mentioned there are some who think you should have experience as an RN prior to applying to school for your NP degree. Others, believe it is not necessary and their are programs designed for those who go straight through. I personally, would not have felt comfortable doing one of those programs and becoming a provider without some medical experience, but that is a personal choice of mine, not a requirement.
    Also, there are a variety of NP degrees, with differing populations and scope of practice limitations. So, putting all of that together with your own personal education background, financial needs, family and social situation, and locale, and you can see why there are many different programs offering different students different path to the ultimate goal of becoming a provider, caring for patients. I'm sure I'm missing many of the finer points, and probably some of the bigger points too. It's a complex situation that takes ALOT of research and study before you really understand what you are getting into and what the tradeoffs are between one program and another.
    Unfortunately it's not as simple to compare two programs as it might be for other degree paths.


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