Will gaining acute care experience make me a better candidate for NP-MPH school?

  1. Hello Nurse Beth,

    I am hoping to get advice as to what NP-MPH programs look for on a resume/what experience would be best before entering this program.

    I just graduated from nursing school and have been working at the VNA in their new graduate residency program for a couple months.

    I decided to go straight into the community setting instead of the hospital, and it's been going well. I'm hoping to apply to an NP-MPH program within the next 5 years.

    I signed up to be a Red Cross volunteer and a medical reserve corps volunteer. I'm also going to join the American Association of Public Health. I hope to work in health policy and research, while still doing some direct patient care (not quite sure what job this is yet but something down this track!).

    My main question is should I be getting hospital experience before entering this program?? I've had some people tell me that home care is not going to prepare me well enough and these programs would prefer applicants with hospital experience. Originally I wanted to work for a health department after my home care experience and before an NP-MPH program. Now I'm rethinking of replacing that idea with the hospital. And what other advice is there for a nurse interested in applying to this?? Thank you so so much!! I have yet to meet a nurse in this type of program and it's been hard obtaining good advice.





    Dear Rethinking,

    Your plans are really inspiring.

    Having a Master's in Public Health along with your NP will open many doors for you. You will be prepared to design and monitor programs and outcomes with a societal and global health perspective as well as have clinical credibility.

    Your question is, you will gaining acute care experience make you a better candidate for NP-MPH school?

    Here's my disclaimer- I do not have expertise on dual-degree NP-MPH acceptance criteria. There is a graduate forum here on allnurses with nurses who may have some pertinent information for you.


    I would start talking to the intake folks at colleges who do offer these programs.
    They will quickly answer your question (Do I get an extra point for acute care?)

    I'll be happy to give you my thoughts, though. Acute care experience does not directly translate to the community healthcare setting. Health department experience does.

    The things you are doing- professional development, joining organizations, volunteering- are golden when it come to school applications. They will serve to help you stand out.
    Whoever gave you the advice to join the Red Cross, medical reserve corps, and the AAPH is a good advisor. Keep following their advice

    Your GPA of course is important, and I would not be surprised if yours is competitive, based on your ability to set and achieve goals so far. Your application letter and references will also be very important.

    Best of luck to you, I expect you to do great things.

    Nurse Beth

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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   spotangel
    Yes! Acute care experience will give you an edge and will hone your critical thinking to split second decision making mode!
    An ER experience will not just give you an idea of what the general population comes in with but also an idea about the socioecnomic issues and our resources to help these patients. That will help you with the MPH aspect! Go for it if your gut says so! All luck and enjoy studying!

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