Should I get a BSN before starting a MSN-NP or DNP program?

  1. Hi everyone! I wanted to get the opinion of currently practicing RNs and NPs about this topic. Is it in my interest to do an ABSN program instead of a Direct Entry APRN program? I'm asking this question in regards to job prospects, ability to practice responsibly and effectively and general attitude towards NPs who were educated through a Direct Entry program.
    My goal is to practice as an Adult Gero Primary Care NP. I'm currently applying to a mix of different nursing programs: ABSN, BSN/MSN, MDE/DNP. Right now I'm leaning towards the BSN/MSN because I know I could theoretically get my BSN, work and do the MSN part-time while I'm getting real nursing experience.
    Just wanted to get some opinions! Thanks : )
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   futureAGPCNP
    Oh and thinking about applying to one Direct Entry MSN-NP program!
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse. One can hardly be an advanced practice nurse unless one has been a nurse. I'd advise the BSN first, work for a couple of years and then start on the advanced degrees.
  5. by   shibaowner
    For a primary care NP, all of the options you listed are fine. RN experience is not required or necessary for primary care NPs. RN experience or lack thereof will not affect primary care NP job prospects. You have to decide if you want to work as an RN or not, and that is your personal decision.

    I went straight through from ABSN to MSN AGPC NP and was hired within 2 months of graduation. I had multiple job offers.

    Good luck.
  6. by   futureAGPCNP
    Thanks for both of your replies!

    As someone who works in healthcare currently, what do you think about the options of becoming an NP via MSN vs DNP? I know there has been talk about transitioning the minimum requirement of an NP to the DNP. How far in the future do you see this happening?
  7. by   shibaowner
    Quote from futureAGPCNP
    Thanks for both of your replies!

    As someone who works in healthcare currently, what do you think about the options of becoming an NP via MSN vs DNP? I know there has been talk about transitioning the minimum requirement of an NP to the DNP. How far in the future do you see this happening?
    A DNP as minimum entry has been discussed for a long time, but it hasn't happened yet. However, if you want to get a DNP, good for you.

    I also wanted to clarify the education requirements to become an NP:

    ABSN - takes 13 months to 15 months, depending on the program. Then you can apply for an MSN NP track, which takes 15 months to 2 years, depending on the track and the program. I did a 15 month ABSN and it was very difficult.

    Master's Direct Entry - this will not allow you to become an NP. If you go this route, you will have to take a post-master's certificate to become an NP. There are also some 3 year programs in which you have to pass the NCLEX after your first year and earn your RN before continuing on to complete the MSN. In this case you will be able to practice as an NP. Obviously, this a grueling path.

    There are now direct-entry DNP programs, but a lot of DNP programs prefer you have some work experience as an RN and/or NP. My NP faculty advised me to work as an NP for awhile, then apply for a DNP. A key part of the DNP is a capstone project and it usually takes some work experience to decide on a good project/specialty. Also, if you are working as an NP, your employer might pay for part or all of your tuition. Even if that is not the case, it will be a lot easier to pay for the DNP on an NP's salary.

    Good luck

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