Becoming an NP with little to no nursing experience??

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    Hello to all!!! I have worked as a parmamedic for 20 years, have a B.A. in Economics, and I wanted to advance my career in healthcare. I was originally looking to pursue the PA route, but for certain practical reasons (including my union not helping to pay for it) I have been looking at other options, nursing/NP. I was very excited to learn of a school near me that has a combined BSN/NP program for people with non-nursing bachelor degrees. I was about to start looking deeper into this program when a good friend of mine who is a member of an interview committee at a nearby hospital told me that I shouldn't do the program because I would have trouble getting a job. The reason stated was because I wouldn't have been seen as having "paid my dues" as a nurse first. Is this true? I could understand why someone might feel that way about someone who went through this type of program never having worked in healthcare before. However, I like to think that to a certain degree I've paid my dues (I know it isn't nursing, but from a time in healthcare perspective). My friend did say that I might be considered an exception to that rule. The program is at a VERY well known school and I was told by my friend even then it wouldn't matter. I was wondering what people here thought regarding this topic. Thank you for any guidance you can provide.
    ksmultan and Jellicoe13 like this.
  2. 680 Comments so far...

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    I'm not an NP, but as far as I can tell, it's a great thing to get your master's degree, however after completion you will still be an entry-level RN. If you're happy to take a non-NP or beginning level job, you'll be fine. I do think some people would have problems with an APN with no nursing experience at all.

    Congrats on your new career choice!
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    Thank you augigi and traumaRUs for your feedback. I am a little surprised that people who graduate from NP programs (and hadn't worked as RN's) would have to take an RN position first and work for some time before being able to get an NP position. Why have these programs in the first place? It is misleading thinking that one can finish this program and start working as an NP. If my friend hadn't put that question in my head (and with the feedback here) I think I would have been in for a real shock after having worked so hard for those years only to find out I would be starting in an RN position. If this is the case then I will have to rethink my game plan and maybe see about an accelerated BSN or I've heard good things about Excelsior's online program. Thanks again for your help.
    Last edit by Blurr156 on Dec 4, '06
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    There is no reason to think you definitely won't be able to get an NP job - you would have to check out the market in your area. It is more that you may not feel (or be) ready for advanced nursing if you don't even have basic nursing down. You also might! It is great that you are considering this before jumping in. I would definitely do a masters if you can rather than a BSN though - you can always work for a year in nursing and then upgrade to an NP position, and you will already have the masters behind to support you.
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    One program near me (Columbia University) has what they call an ETP (Entry to Practice) combined BS/MS program. The first year is full time to satisfy the BSN portion. The rest of the program is for the MS(NP) which may be done part time or full time. I was thinking of maybe going through this program and after finishing the BS part (hopefully) then working as an RN and continuing part-time with the rest. Lots to think about, but I'm eager to move on from where I have been for a long time. Thanks again.
    mtstringer likes this.
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    Blurr - I think you have the right idea. In my area, the market is very tight. The powers to be wouldn't even interview an inexperienced RN who had NP after it. However, I would think in areas where there is a strong need, you would be considered. Simple supply and demand.
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    What I think might be an even better option (cost wise that is...) is getting my Assoc. in Nursing through Excelsior's online program. It seems to be very convenient for those who work. Once I have that I can start working as a nurse and then apply for a master's program. Hmmm, sounds like a plan. Thanks for your help.
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    Blurr - just make sure that Excelsior is accepted in the state that you want to work. Some states (IL for one, where I live) do not accept it.
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    Quote from Blurr156
    One program near me (Columbia University) has what they call an ETP (Entry to Practice) combined BS/MS program. The first year is full time to satisfy the BSN portion. The rest of the program is for the MS(NP) which may be done part time or full time. I was thinking of maybe going through this program and after finishing the BS part (hopefully) then working as an RN and continuing part-time with the rest. Lots to think about, but I'm eager to move on from where I have been for a long time. Thanks again.
    I'm a student at Columbia and I know in the past the Acute care program had 100% job placement rate after graduation and those people were expected to go straight from the BSN through the MSN program full-time. I'm in the FNP program and that director expects us to work as nurses while we do the masters phase. I'm doing the program part-time and working full-time but it is possible to do it full-time and work full-time. I worked in health care for 7 years before I started this program and was strongly encouraged by the doctors and nurses I worked with to go here. I've already been offered an NP job even though I probably won't graduate till 2010. If you have any questions about the program feel free to PM me.
    nursegc and BS/MS NursingStudent like this.


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