Have I done all my research?

  1. 0
    Hi everyone,

    I'm a first time poster with no nursing experience interested in becoming an NP - just looking for some advice. I apologize for the length of this post…but it's not boring! I promise!

    Here is some background information:

    I'm 29 years old with a BS & MFA under my belt, (Communications & Graphic Design), working at a job that I hate (Internet Marketing, yuck!). After some serious reflection, I've decided to kick that meaningless crap to the curb and pursue a career in nursing.

    I know some of you must be asking, "Why does she want to change her career completely? Surely there must be something else out there for her," or maybe, "How does she know that this is the right career move for her?" Believe me - my brain asked me those questions too. And so did my mother-in-law. The best answer I can give is that a) I want to have a career that utilizes practical knowledge b) I want to engage with people every day instead of plugging myself into a computer to create display ads that no one clicks on anyway and c) I want to be challenged and think on my feet. And I want to come home tired.

    Now, here is my situation:

    I make pretty decent money at this joyless, frighteningly mind-numbing job. My husband (a former EMT) is starting PA school in a week, so I'm basically the only breadwinner here, and so I can't quit. I've looked into Direct-Entry programs in the Boston area, talked to RNs & NPs I know, and created a schedule of the prerequisite courses I will need to fulfill before applying. I'm starting chemistry after Labor Day, and I feel like I'm already ahead of the game because I love Breaking Bad (kidding! but I do love Breaking Bad). Right now, I feel most comfortable taking one class per semester (including summer) because I want to focus on that class and get an A. And then another A. And so on. But that's going to take a few years - I won't be applying to nursing programs until 2016 or 2017 - and by then hopefully my husband will have a job. I'm also going to be looking for evening/weekend volunteer opportunities. (If you've made it this far, congratulations, and do you have any advice about how best to go about volunteering?)

    What I want to know is, have I missed anything in my research? Is the Direct Entry route my best option given my circumstances? Have any of you been in similar circumstances?

    Thank you in advance for your wonderful advice!
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    When you say "direct entry" -- are you talking about MSN direct entry programs for those with no prior nursing education, or accelerated BSN programs?
  5. 0
    Quote from Altra
    When you say "direct entry" -- are you talking about MSN direct entry programs for those with no prior nursing education, or accelerated BSN programs?
    I'm talking about MSN Direct Entry programs for those with no prior nursing education.
  6. 0
    Be careful in planning how you take your pre-requisite courses. Many programs will want you to have certain courses within a specific number of years i.e., must have taken A&P I and II within 3 years of your application to them. Unless you plan carefully you may have to re-take courses to comply. Check the requirements with the program you intend on applying to.
  7. 0
    Oh absolutely! I have quite the spreadsheet going - the lowest common denominator for "shelf life" of courses is five years, at least for the programs I'm interested in.
  8. 0
    I believe an accelerated BSN for those a prior degree is the way to go. (Some programs can be completed in 1-1/2 years.) Now a days many places are not going to look at you without prior nursing experience for a NP position. (Practically everyone is going back to school and pursuing more education) The BSN experience will definitely make a difference pursing your MSN-NP education later. After you have the necessary classes you can apply to the program. You do many community colleges are now offering classes online. (If the class is not one of the science you can take it online) If you do take online classes you may be able to take more than one class. I would try to finish as soon as possible.(Because courses do have a shell-life).

    Have you considered Health Care Administration? (Another BA degree) (Finding a career in this field will open up grater opportunities than your current position offers.) (Opportunities such a networking..foot in the door..getting your name on the payroll....etc..)

    Good luck in all your future endavors.
  9. 0
    I am also 29 and also from Boston. I got my nursing degree as an undergrad and have been a nurse in the city for over 6 years.

    First, you still spend a fair amount of time at the computer as a nurse. I dare say, MOST of your time many days. Hospitals care way more that you document that you did something than if you actually did it. When I was working in the hospital I definitely felt like I spent more time at the computer than I did with patients.

    An accelerated/Direct Entry MSN program is certainly the FASTEST route but I don't know that I would call it the "best". Personally, I don't like those programs and I don't think someone can be a "master" in nursing without ever having been a novice. The only way this program will work is if you stop half way through and begin working as an RN and finish the program on a part-time basis. There are NOT a lot of Advance Practice Nurse jobs in Massachusetts... especially not for APRNs with no nursing experience to back their degree up with. I know someone who did one of these programs and began working as an RN half way through... well she finished the NP program over 2 years ago and she is STILL working as an RN. I know others who did undergrad RN programs and had 5-6 years RN experience before they became NPs... and they still struggled to find NP jobs. Everyone in Boston wants to be an NP.

    What kind of NP do you want to be? I honestly think there is more research to do before you invest so much time and energy into this. I'm not trying to discourage you... just being realistic about nursing in Boston.
  10. 0
    I was 29 with no nursing experience when I changed careers.

    If you need some help thinking a out options in the Boston area, shout.
  11. 0
    I'm a 2009 grad of Boston College's Direct Entry program. I switched careers in my mid 40s, after working for years in both the technical and administrative sides of laboratory medicine. I had absolutely no problem finding a job as an NP after graduation, despite not having worked as a RN. Prospective employers were much more concerned about my lack of NP experience rather than my lack of RN experience. I have always worked outpatient, either in primary care or specialty practice. I think the RN experience is more critical if you want to work inpatient. I've precepted DE students over the last 2 years and they did not seem to have trouble finding jobs in Boston. I think the market has tightened up, but there are still lots of jobs out there for NPs. I see new grad RNs/BSNs having far more trouble finding that first job than new NPs. That's only one person's perspective, and I could be wrong, but that's what I've been seeing. Direct Entry was the best choice for me, and worked out very well. Please feel free to PM me if I can help in any way.
  12. 0
    Quote from BCgradnurse
    I'm a 2009 grad of Boston College's Direct Entry program. I switched careers in my mid 40s, after working for years in both the technical and administrative sides of laboratory medicine. I had absolutely no problem finding a job as an NP after graduation, despite not having worked as a RN. Prospective employers were much more concerned about my lack of NP experience rather than my lack of RN experience. I have always worked outpatient, either in primary care or specialty practice. I think the RN experience is more critical if you want to work inpatient. I've precepted DE students over the last 2 years and they did not seem to have trouble finding jobs in Boston. I think the market has tightened up, but there are still lots of jobs out there for NPs. I see new grad RNs/BSNs having far more trouble finding that first job than new NPs. That's only one person's perspective, and I could be wrong, but that's what I've been seeing. Direct Entry was the best choice for me, and worked out very well. Please feel free to PM me if I can help in any way.
    I agree with this.

    My NP job didn't care at all about my RN experience. Research supports this. The program I work for graduated 36 novice NPs without RN experience in May and more than 3/4ths have accepted offers as of August 1.


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