FNP vs WHNP

  1. Hi guys,

    I realize this may have been posted previously, but I'm hoping to get some specific advice. I'm currently in a BSN-DNP program (and about to start clinicals this fall, so I need to decide soon). I'm currently in the FNP track, but am considering switching to WHNP. I've kind of always thought I would end up working in a women's health primary care practice after getting my NP degree, so I'm wondering if it makes sense to specialize now or get a more general degree under my belt. I live in NJ, so there are a zillion practices.

    My concern is that maybe WHNP is not a broad enough degree, or maybe I don't have enough experience in it at this point (I work on an adult inpatient oncology unit, and have no L&D experience). I think I had been worried up to this point that my inexperience in this discipline would disqualify me from entering this field, and I had gravitated to the broader degree.


    Do you think it's better to get the broader FNP now and perhaps specialize later? Can I work in a women's health practice with an FNP degree? I could really see myself working in this field, but I'm worried I'll pigeonhole myself or have difficulty getting hired after graduation, or complete a DNP project in a field that I'm currently unfamiliar with. Is it necessary to be a CNM as well, or are there opportunities for a WHNP without a midwifery background? With a WHNP, how wide is the scope of practice/salary differences? I know that WHNP also provide primary care for women in addition to GYN care, but I'm wondering if there are any other areas of practice that I may not know about.

    Any advice/insight would be greatly appreciated. I'm reaching out to my professors, but I haven't really heard back, and I've been looking at the websites of each discipline, but it's not really showing me the "real-world" situation.

    Thanks,
    Jessie
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Kad3251
    I am a FNP that works in women's health. I knew I wanted to work in women's health before going back to school. Women's health jobs are hard to find in my area (NC), so I chose FNP so that I could always fall back on a primary care position if needed. In my opinion it's better to go broad.
  4. by   medic9872
    I know a FNP who works in women's health and she landed that job as soon as she passed her boards. I think FNP may give you experience with a wider age range than WHNP, but I don't really know enough about it. It seems that most practices and employers in my area look for FNPs, but that may be different as it sounds like you're in a more densely populated urban area than I am (middle GA). Either way, good luck to you!
  5. by   jessibell3
    Thank you for your insight! I'm leaning towards FNP right now, but I'm meeting with a WHNP professor at my school today, so hopefully I can get both perspectives and make a decision. Thanks!
  6. by   Swellz
    I worked with a now-FNP who was applying for jobs and was told to apply at an OB-GYN office as they would train her. She didn't end up pursuing that, but I think it is an option.

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