Non-Nursing degree holder hopes to become NP

  1. Hello-

    I hope I am in the right forum, and would like to introduce myself: a 44 yo with a B.S. in Humanities (1984, US Air Force Academy) and lots of Master's work in Environmental Science (early 1990s), homeschooling mom, wife to a husband still on active duty...hoping to apply to an accelerated NP program.

    Found the list of 30-odd schools, started correlating the prereqs, and of course few schools ask for the same things! I cannot grasp that the two Ivy Leagues who offer such programs vary from (a) no prereqs [Yale] to (b) the longest list of prereqs [Penn].

    My husband is on the verge of stroke as he contemplates us trying to fund my degree while two of our kids are in college, and us having to move to an appropriate school, while his retirement pay will be less than half of what we get by on at the moment...not wanting to take loans to carry to our graves...

    Anyway, besides $, the other stressor is difficulty accessing prereqs. I commute 3 h/day to take Anatomy, and will do the same for Physiology next semester. Would like advice on finding an online Nutrition course...and what do you think about studying for the CLEP for Growth & Development?

    Lots of ideas going through my head...also wondering how can Boston College make an NP in only 2 years from a non-nurse?

    Thoughts swirling in Oklahoma like a tornado,

    Pax et bonum,

    Carol
    •  
  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   romie
    Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you are well on your way to that crazy journey that is nursing school. One thing that is true of getting into nursing schools is that pre-reqs do vary for all program types. I actually made a spreadsheet outlining the pre-reqs of all the nursing schools in my area that I was interested in applying to and it helped me decide which order to take coursework to maximize the number of schools I was eligible to apply to.

    You could probably alleviate some financial stress by simply biting the bullet and taking out student loans. At least in the field of nursing these loans pay for themselves after graduation.

    As far as NP programs that are only 2 years long-- are you sure it is only two years for the master's level coursework AND the nursing fundamentals? Many masters entry programs may seem like short work once you get in, but they usually require years of pre-reqs.

    Good luck once again.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Hi and welcome. I am very impressed by your USAF Academy credentials! (Lived in CO when it opened in the early 60's and was so impressed on second visit too).

    Anyway - am unsure of a program that offers a direct entry NP for a non-nurse in two years! That doesn't seem like enough. However, maybe that is the RN portion and then you transition into the NP role?

    I would definitely try to stay at one school while doing this type of program because many of the courses don't transfer. I would also make sure that you have sufficient knowledge to know what NP role you want to do. Many times this changes once you are a nurse.

    Good luck.
  5. by   TiBette
    Quote from cspt

    ...and what do you think about studying for the CLEP for Growth & Development?

    I took the CLEP for Growth & Dev about 10 yrs ago and would definitely recommend it.
  6. by   arciedee
    For those of you wondering, yes, Boston College does offer a direct-entry NP program in two years and it's actually pretty well regarded, however I would imagine that it's quite intense. I know there was at least one person who used to post on here who was enrolled in the program... I believe she cut down to part-time shortly after starting, but sounded like she felt it was a good experience nonetheless.

    Sounds like you're definitely overwhelmed with possibilities. I would first look at where you want to be geographically, whether you plan to stay where you are living now, or if you want to move and if so, where. You can pick more than one location, but I think investigating every accelerated and direct-entry program out there will be more an exercise in frustration than actually being productive. Once you've picked some areas you're interested in, look at the programs there. Are you looking for a BSN? A generalist MSN? Or do you want to go into advanced practice and know which area you want to specialize in? Do the programs you're looking at match your career goals? Once you pick some programs that sound good to you, contact them for more information. Ask questions such as what their preferences are on where you take classes, whether they will accept CLEP in lieu of an actual class, etc. Then, as romie mentioned, write down all the pre-reqs for the programs. There will probably be some standard ones that are required or recommended for most of them. Some schools will allow you to apply without having completed all of them. And some schools will offer students the opportunity to start at their school a semester early in order to complete some of the pre-reqs. As for the schools that have few requirements (i.e. Yale which only requires statistics, as did my school) there may still be recommended courses and I suspect that most people attending have taken A&P, etc. The expectation there isn't that you don't need to know the information, it's that you will take the time and initiative to do the self-study if you don't already have a background in those areas.

    As for the $$$ issue, that is huge. If you can find a state school where you would have residency, that will help with tuition costs. Also, when you speak with programs you are interested in you should ask about financial aid, etc. Many of their students will be in a similar situation where they are switching careers, have their children's college education to consider, still need to eat, have a roof, etc., so the school should be well-versed in knowing how other students handle it.

    Best of luck to you on your journey!
    Last edit by arciedee on Nov 15, '06
  7. by   Dixiecup
    Quote from cspt
    Hello-

    I hope I am in the right forum, and would like to introduce myself: a 44 yo with a B.S. in Humanities (1984, US Air Force Academy) and lots of Master's work in Environmental Science (early 1990s), homeschooling mom, wife to a husband still on active duty...hoping to apply to an accelerated NP program.

    Found the list of 30-odd schools, started correlating the prereqs, and of course few schools ask for the same things! I cannot grasp that the two Ivy Leagues who offer such programs vary from (a) no prereqs [Yale] to (b) the longest list of prereqs [Penn].

    My husband is on the verge of stroke as he contemplates us trying to fund my degree while two of our kids are in college, and us having to move to an appropriate school, while his retirement pay will be less than half of what we get by on at the moment...not wanting to take loans to carry to our graves...

    Anyway, besides $, the other stressor is difficulty accessing prereqs. I commute 3 h/day to take Anatomy, and will do the same for Physiology next semester. Would like advice on finding an online Nutrition course...and what do you think about studying for the CLEP for Growth & Development?

    Lots of ideas going through my head...also wondering how can Boston College make an NP in only 2 years from a non-nurse?

    Thoughts swirling in Oklahoma like a tornado,

    Pax et bonum,

    Carol

    I clepped a lot of my classes for my RN. Growth and Development was oneof them. All the classes I clepped I finished in one month for each. (It's all I did every night after work!) I liked it!
  8. by   celle507
    hi, just wanted to give my input on your decision.
    i am currently enrolled at a direct-entry program (finished the rn portion, now working as a nurse and doing my ms portion part-time).

    if you want to save money, i would DEFINITELY recommend state schools.
    another way would be to enroll in an accelerated BSN program, and then apply to your masters afterward. this way, you have your bsn and can start working as a nurse and pay off your masters tuition slowly.

    i was stupid and went to a private school for the master's entry program and will be paying loans until i'm 80. for nursing, it is not worth it to go to yale or columbia over umass boston, unless you are getting a lot of scholarships.

    if you really know you don't want to be a nurse at all, then go to a masters entry program. i know some of my classmates went on to work as an np right away, even without any rn experience.

    good luck in your decision
  9. by   cspt
    Thank you for your kind reply. Glad to read I'm not the only one frustrated with varying prereqs! It looks like it will be a couple of years before I can apply to NP schools, because dear husband will remain on active duty for that much longer...now if I only knew WHERE we will be after this summer...

    Pax et bonum,

    Carol in OK

    Quote from romie
    Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you are well on your way to that crazy journey that is nursing school. One thing that is true of getting into nursing schools is that pre-reqs do vary for all program types. I actually made a spreadsheet outlining the pre-reqs of all the nursing schools in my area that I was interested in applying to and it helped me decide which order to take coursework to maximize the number of schools I was eligible to apply to.

    You could probably alleviate some financial stress by simply biting the bullet and taking out student loans. At least in the field of nursing these loans pay for themselves after graduation.

    As far as NP programs that are only 2 years long-- are you sure it is only two years for the master's level coursework AND the nursing fundamentals? Many masters entry programs may seem like short work once you get in, but they usually require years of pre-reqs.

    Good luck once again.
  10. by   cspt
    Thank you for your kind reply. Right now it looks like we will be moving to another state on a military move, and then after that & retirement of dh, will be able to go to school...so I will definitely keep in mind your advice concerning transfer-ability.

    Pax et bonum,

    Carol in OK

    Quote from traumaRUs
    Hi and welcome. I am very impressed by your USAF Academy credentials! (Lived in CO when it opened in the early 60's and was so impressed on second visit too).

    Anyway - am unsure of a program that offers a direct entry NP for a non-nurse in two years! That doesn't seem like enough. However, maybe that is the RN portion and then you transition into the NP role?

    I would definitely try to stay at one school while doing this type of program because many of the courses don't transfer. I would also make sure that you have sufficient knowledge to know what NP role you want to do. Many times this changes once you are a nurse.

    Good luck.
  11. by   cspt
    Thank you for your meaty & helpful reply. Lots of good advice! Lots to digest! Thank you also for the kind wishes. I have almost finished my matrix of schools/prereqs/costs...

    Pax et bonum,

    Carol in OK

    Quote from arciedee
    For those of you wondering, yes, Boston College does offer a direct-entry NP program in two years and it's actually pretty well regarded, however I would imagine that it's quite intense. I know there was at least one person who used to post on here who was enrolled in the program... I believe she cut down to part-time shortly after starting, but sounded like she felt it was a good experience nonetheless.

    Sounds like you're definitely overwhelmed with possibilities. I would first look at where you want to be geographically, whether you plan to stay where you are living now, or if you want to move and if so, where. You can pick more than one location, but I think investigating every accelerated and direct-entry program out there will be more an exercise in frustration than actually being productive. Once you've picked some areas you're interested in, look at the programs there. Are you looking for a BSN? A generalist MSN? Or do you want to go into advanced practice and know which area you want to specialize in? Do the programs you're looking at match your career goals? Once you pick some programs that sound good to you, contact them for more information. Ask questions such as what their preferences are on where you take classes, whether they will accept CLEP in lieu of an actual class, etc. Then, as romie mentioned, write down all the pre-reqs for the programs. There will probably be some standard ones that are required or recommended for most of them. Some schools will allow you to apply without having completed all of them. And some schools will offer students the opportunity to start at their school a semester early in order to complete some of the pre-reqs. As for the schools that have few requirements (i.e. Yale which only requires statistics, as did my school) there may still be recommended courses and I suspect that most people attending have taken A&P, etc. The expectation there isn't that you don't need to know the information, it's that you will take the time and initiative to do the self-study if you don't already have a background in those areas.

    As for the $$$ issue, that is huge. If you can find a state school where you would have residency, that will help with tuition costs. Also, when you speak with programs you are interested in you should ask about financial aid, etc. Many of their students will be in a similar situation where they are switching careers, have their children's college education to consider, still need to eat, have a roof, etc., so the school should be well-versed in knowing how other students handle it.

    Best of luck to you on your journey!
  12. by   cspt
    Thank you for your reply. May I ask where you are enrolled? I wonder about the in-state issue...whereever I school, it will be a new state for us, and I suppose it takes a year to become an official resident...

    And yes, I really don't have much desire to be an RN, although that may be what I do as we clump along moving from place to place (military) until I can go to an NP program...

    What do you think are the main differences between direct entry programs, content-wise?

    Pax et bonum,

    Carol in OK

    Quote from celle507
    hi, just wanted to give my input on your decision.
    i am currently enrolled at a direct-entry program (finished the rn portion, now working as a nurse and doing my ms portion part-time).

    if you want to save money, i would DEFINITELY recommend state schools.
    another way would be to enroll in an accelerated BSN program, and then apply to your masters afterward. this way, you have your bsn and can start working as a nurse and pay off your masters tuition slowly.

    i was stupid and went to a private school for the master's entry program and will be paying loans until i'm 80. for nursing, it is not worth it to go to yale or columbia over umass boston, unless you are getting a lot of scholarships.

    if you really know you don't want to be a nurse at all, then go to a masters entry program. i know some of my classmates went on to work as an np right away, even without any rn experience.

    good luck in your decision
  13. by   Gennaver
    Quote from cspt
    Hello-

    ...
    Pax et bonum,

    Carol
    Hi there Carol,

    Couple of thoughts if you don't mind, first of all, good luck!

    2nd, why the 3h commute? Could you take them online? Many students have, even microbiology.

    3rd, well, the initial plunge will be quite costly but, with three of the people in your family attending universities and your family living on your husband's retirement really should qualify you all for the max amount of student loans, right?

    4th, good luck! Choose the school that will serve your needs the best, and remember that it is the combination of your application packet, (the essay, the work/life/education experience and the gre, letters of recommendation).

    Take care
    Gen
    edit to add: my program is a direct entry program modeled after USFC's. Our pre-reqs and our undergrad pretty much constitute the core of the non-clinical portion of a bsn yet, we do the clinical portion of the BSN, (basically the two year program) with our two year Masters core, (together, at the same time). So, while it is costly, it is time efficient and the program is 22 months start to finish with the MSN-generalist.
    Last edit by Gennaver on Nov 26, '06
  14. by   masstudent
    Carol wrote: "Thank you for your reply. May I ask where you are enrolled? I wonder about the in-state issue...whereever I school, it will be a new state for us, and I suppose it takes a year to become an official resident...

    And yes, I really don't have much desire to be an RN, although that may be what I do as we clump along moving from place to place (military) until I can go to an NP program..."

    Carol, I have no knowledge about what you have to do to qualify as an instate student but you might try talking with someone in the military branch that your husband serves in. Since sometimes there are special exceptions made for active duty personnel, perhaps something similar exists for their spouses. You can't be the first in this situation and just as your husband is serving his country, in a way you are too by supporting him. Good luck.

close