Graduate Entry Program--Which path should I take to be a PMHNP?

  1. Hello!

    Questions: In your opinion, is it an easier transition to go from a generalist entry
    masters degree to a DNP degree or a masters entry NP degree to a DNP degree? Which path would better prepare me to be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner? Which path will make it easier to get my first nursing job?

    I really like the multiple options people with non nursing bachelors have to become a NP, but I am really confused which track is best for me. I have bachelors of arts in psychology and a bachelors of business administration. I know I want to be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. I have volunteered in an outpatient psychiatric unit and am currently a behavioral health technician. I love working patients with behavioral health issues.

    I applied to several masters entry programs, some CNL generalist programs and some programs with PMHNP nurse practitioner specialty, not knowing which is the best option for me. I thought I'd apply and see wherever I get in will be the place I am meant to go. Good news is I have been accepted by both types of programs.

    But now I have to choose which type of program is right for me. I noticed some schools, such as UIC, are switching their masters entry NP specialty programs to advance generalist degrees. I am afraid getting a masters entry NP degree will make it hard for me to get my first nursing job. Also, I heard nurse practitioners who got a generalist masters degree first and worked as a nurse a couple of years were happy because their experience as a nurse has been so helpful as a NP. However, getting the masters entry NP degree means I'll be able to study what I'm really interested in sooner and I know many students work as a RN while they are taking their specialty classes.

    I really appreciate any advice!
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  3. by   mzaur
    Which NP programs were you accepted to? I'm in pretty much exactly the same situation as you in regards to background. I applied to several direct entry MSN NP programs and will be going to either BC or Vanderbilt. Probably Vanderbilt since I'm really tired of winter.

    I would not recommend you go to a CNL program. Just go straight to NP. You do not need RN experience to get a job as PMHNP from what I've heard. It's a very in demand specialty. You will primarily be doing medication management with some brief counseling, so working as an RN won't really help you much. Your experience in psych will be more valuable, I think. If you wanted to pursue FNP or ACNP, then clearly the RN experience would be quite helpful and probably even necessary.
    Last edit by mzaur on Feb 12, '14