BSN RN to DNP/ PhD/MSN with NP specialties

  1. Hi

    I'm practically done with my BSN RN, I was wondering if someone can help me decide on which route to go with my nursing career.

    My heart is in public health and the medical mobile team at my church, evidence based research and advancing what we have but I have little experience in nursing and no clue which direction to go.

    Which route would benefit that and what kind of job/living could I make as a DNP, MSN with NP specialties or a PhD?

    Very Respectfully,
    Elizanda Dingle
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   pro-student
    Wow, you listed a lot of vague ideas. The first step definitely is narrowing down what it is that you want to do. The last thing you want to do is jump into more education without a really good idea of what you're hoping to get out of it. For instance, you mentioned public health but also "NP specialties" (not entirely sure what you mean by that). Most public health nurses are not NPs. Public health is very broad and can include everything from STI testing/treatment to case management. You can get into public health nursing with just an RN (the BSN usually helps). If you wanted to advance in that area, either an MPH or an MSN in community nursing is probably your best bet. If you really do want to be an NP you need to decide which specialty. Based on the Consensus Model, NP specialties are based on a patient population you want to care for - Adult/Gero, Family, Peds, Neonates, Women's Health, or Psych. You also need to consider whether you want be an acute care or primary care provider since these are different tracks.

    I also don't know what you mean by "evidence based research" since evidence based practices are those that are based on research findings. This is very different from being a researcher who actually designs and conducts the studies. Basically, if you want to apply the research clinically (EBP), the DNP is more appropriate whereas if you want to be a researcher then a PhD is your best bet. Also, bear in mind that it can be extremely difficult to be a researcher and still be a practicing clinician.

    Overall, I'd suggest you invest some time in sorting out your interest and looking into the various specialties within nursing. There's no big rush, you're not even an RN yet. In the long run, you'll be much better off getting some experience to find out what exactly you want to do rather than trying to rush into another degree. You may just want to try somethings out, you may find out your preferences change dramatically once you get into the real world of nursing. Best of luck!
  4. by   Zyprexa
    A good place to start would be working as a nurse in public health. There are many different avenues in public health, and by gaining actual work experience will help you narrow down what direction is right for you. I might be wrong, but I think there are dual Masters of Public Health/PhD programs which may be a good path for what you currently want. However, what you want now and what you may want to do once you have gained experience outside of nursing school could change. Best of luck.
  5. by   mmc51264
    Big difference in DNP versus Ph.D. years. I am finishing my MSN in Dec. I can finish my DNP in one extra calendar year. Ph.D is 3-5 years.
  6. by   nutella
    Quote from mmc51264
    Big difference in DNP versus Ph.D. years. I am finishing my MSN in Dec. I can finish my DNP in one extra calendar year. Ph.D is 3-5 years.
    A DNP is a clinical doctorate while the PhD is a research and teaching degree that focuses heavily on creating new knowledge/research. DNP have some basic knowledge about research an teaching but their focus is on applying knowledge and clinical leadership.
    Many DNP are nurse practitioner who are mostly interested in the provider role and not so much in research or teaching. It is true that the PhD takes longer than the DNP because the focus is to provide the education that enables the nurse to create knowledge through research and teach - this requires some solid skills in research as well as a dissertation based on a research project.

    It makes most sense to me to think about what role you envision for yourself.
    If you want to become a provider (nurse practitioner) in the community, you would want to enter a NP program, which could be a MSN or DNP program. The idea would be to practice, which could be also public health.
    If you are looking more into leadership perhaps a MSN would be better.

    If you are very interested in public health - what about the MPH (master of public health)?
  7. by   mmc51264
    I am planning on DNP in informatics, I will teach as well as clinical EHR help (my goal) Have a MA in teaching but I can also get CNE
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to Post-Grad student forum

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