new grads of direct entry programs: are you paid as an NP or an entry level nurse?

  1. Hello everyone,

    I am nearing the point where I should be hearing back from schools about interviews to their direct entry nursing programs (I've already scheduled an interview with one!) and I'm suddenly freaking out about the outcome of all this. I mean, what happens when I graduate as an NP with no prior nursing experience, aside from the clinical portion during the program? I ask this because I am really worried about paying back loans after graduation. What if, and this is what I predict, I will have to work at entry level nurse's pay for several years before I am paid commensurate with the level of education I have? It's not that I mind working as an entry level nurse to gain experience, but at what stage are you finally paid as a nurse practitioner? Or maybe, I have no clue what I'm talking about here, hehe. I have no idea, really, how nurses salaries are scaled with regard to advanced degrees and experience levels, which is why I'm asking these questions.

    I also wonder if I choose psychiatric mental health nursing, will they hire me first as an entry level nurse in this speciality or will I automatically be assigned responsibilities as a nurse practitioner? In many professions (teaching I know for a fact) they automatically raise your starting salary if you are hired with a masters degree, regardless of experience. Obviously, this is not recommended in the healthcare field, where experience is considered more important. It's just something I've been thinking about the last couple of days and haven't been able to find an answer to. Last minute worries, I suppose, as I wait for letters in the mail.

    ~chickpea
    Last edit by chickpea25 on Dec 21, '06
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Hmm - this is a new take on this subject. I'll be interested to see what kind of info you get too. Good idea.
  4. by   wildmountainchild
    Not so in nursing. You will make about the same as a starting NP as you will an an entry level nurse. Maybe a few bucks an hour more. BUT...depending on what part of the country you live in...that's not too bad.

    With time, but more importantly, with experience your pay will rise.

    But, the benefit of being an NP isn't entirely money related. Autonomy is a big part of it.
  5. by   chickpea25
    Dear wildmountain child,
    Thanks for the reply. I figured that I would probably earn the same as an entry level nurse. I believe the autonomy is the most important aspect of becoming a nurse practitioner. I considered becoming a physician assistant as well, but thought nursing had more flexibility. Money is not so much the issue except that I have school loans and don't want to be forever struggling to pay back them back. Another reason I asked this question is that I don't feel comfortable at work (I work at a nursing home) discussing people's salaries because I know that people are given slightly different salaries when they are hired for the same position with similar levels of experience. So it helps to have a forum to raise these questions.
  6. by   Gennaver
    Quote from chickpea25
    Hello everyone,

    I will have to work at entry level nurse's pay for several years before I am paid commensurate with the level of education I have? ...
    ~chickpea
    Hello there Chicpea,
    From everything I have heard and read, that as a new nurse, you will be paid as a new nurse regardless of your credentials, (be it as an associate's degree, bachellor's degree or master's entry degree).

    If you are an NP then that is different, you are a licensed NP and your pay would be different.

    As a future graduate from a direct entry program anticipated the MS in Nursing degree I will be paid just like any other new nurse graduate.

    The pay off for these degrees will be in the following months or years, not immediate.

    We will graduate and start right alongside, (pay and job-wise) dipoloma, associate and bachellor's prepared nurses.

    As it should be, in my opinion. Our options will change rapidly as our experience and skill increase, (that is, IF and when our experience and skill hopefully increase).
    edit to add:

    Please do not mistake that until you are an RN you are not eligible to begin the Nurse Practitioner portion of your program. In the interim between completing your NP degree, you will indeed be paid as a new RN, once you complete your NP degree you will be working and PAID as an NP. Now, depending on your area will depend upon the salary of the NP.

    Welcome aboard!
    Gen
    Last edit by Gennaver on Dec 24, '06
  7. by   liljluv
    chickpea,
    I am a student of a direct entry MSN program to be a clinical nurse leader. I also work in a hospital NY. We have had graduates come in with the NP degree but they are hired as staff nurses first because with no prior experience the Nurse Leader will not hire them directly as NPs. Good luck
    Last edit by liljluv on Jul 23, '08
  8. by   llg
    I am not a Master's direct entry graduate -- but have worked with some in a couple of different hospitals.

    For them ... pay depended on their job title. If they got a job as a basic entry-level staff nurse, then they were paid as a basic entry-level staff nurse. When they took a job that required a MSN, they were paid at the level of the MSN position.

    I have a PhD in nursing, but work in a job category that only requires an MSN. I am paid the same as my collegues who only have an MSN.

    In my experience at 10 different hospitals during my career, people are generally paid at the compensation rate of the job, not their academic degrees. A few hospitals give a small differential for BSN and/or certification in a specialty -- and that is becoming more common -- but the bulk of the pay is determined by your job title and the job responsibilities that you fulfill.
  9. by   SteveNNP
    I work for a union hospital in NYC. As an MSN/NP you would be paid at a higher base salary, but you would miss out on experience-based differentials which are around $1200 per year of experience/yr.

    Some direct-entry programs require you to practice as an RN before graduation from the NP portion of the program. I know NNPs have to have 2 years of practice in a Level III NICU before graduating as an NNP.
  10. by   erchick85
    A co-worker of mine just graduated a BS to MSN with CNL. She started out at the pay rate of a regular new grad but advanced through the pay levels much much faster. Of course her degree was in CNL not a NP.
  11. by   sunray12
    Quote from wildmountainchild
    Not so in nursing. You will make about the same as a starting NP as you will an an entry level nurse. Maybe a few bucks an hour more. BUT...depending on what part of the country you live in...that's not too bad.

    With time, but more importantly, with experience your pay will rise.

    But, the benefit of being an NP isn't entirely money related. Autonomy is a big part of it.
    This is an old post but just wanted to comment that eligibility to start at a few bucks more per hour is significant - or at least that's my perspective coming from a non-healthcare background.

    Also are new grad NP's earning the same as ADN RN's because that is industry standard? Or are some new grad NP's opting to take regular RN positions because there are more of those readily available than NP positions?
  12. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    At our medical center, all new grads (whether ADN, BSN, direct-entry CNL, or direct entry NP) start as Clinician I. The difference in salary is 25 cents an hour for AD vs BSN/MSN grads. After 2-3 years of work experience, the direct-entry NP grads have enough practical work experience to be competitive for the NP positions. We have two clinical ladders (Clinician I-IV for most positions, and a differnet ladder for Advanced Practice roles).
  13. by   anelsen15
    I am curious about this direct entry program. I will be grad shortly with Mech. Eng. degree but keep getting pulled in nurse practioner directiion due to exp. with med problems i have had. I feel rushed because of the change from 2 to 4 years post grad for nurse pract. in 2015. Could someone explain this direct entry and how you become a nurse practioner through it.
  14. by   UVA Grad Nursing
    The change for entry into Advanced Practice (NP, CNS, CRNA, CMN) by 2015 was an aspirational goal. It is not a mandate, nor a requirement. The only specialty organization that has embraced the Doctor of Nursing Practice movement with full force are the Anesthetists. The MSN in Nurse Anesthesia will no longer be an exit point after 2022. All programs preparing CRNAs will be doctoral programs only in about 10 years time.

    There are two primary types of Direct Entry program now. One prepares people for specialty focus and practice at the completion of a 2.5-3.5 year program. The other type prepares someone for an advanced generalist position (clinical nurse leader) in 1.5-2 years. Graduates from these Direct Entry generalist programs (like UCLA, USF, Rush, Maryland, Virginia, etc) could enter an advanced specialty program as a post-masters or DNP student after the completion of their MSN.

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