A male Nurse Practitioner: What are your thoughts?

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    I am debating on whether I should become a NP or a PA. I've been researching on both professions on the Internet and elsewhere all summer, and I look forward to finally being able to job shadow these two positions as they will show me a much clearer picture of these two.

    I ultimately want to help others through the healthcare field. So I have a few questions to ask those experienced and knowledgeable.

    I want to stress that you don't need to answer all of my questions, just the one(s) you believe you can give the best answer to.

    Education:-How long is does it take to become a NP today, preferably after 2015?
    Before answering, if you can, please consider the new educational requirements set for becoming a NP by 2015. If I am not mistaken, I hear that in order to become a NP one must achieve a DNP by 2015. Will that be true for most programs by 2015?

    Which is more flexible, less time consuming, more convenient; NP or PA school? Can I still be able to work as an NP student?

    With what you've seen, how does a male benefit in the nursing model, especially as a NP? What are the advantages? (As in job opportunity, social work environment, benefits, etc)

    What is the typical position a fresh NP grad will take up?
    What will the approx. pay be?

    Through my research I've only seen salaries of experienced workers, not no-experience ones.

    -Why be a NP over a PA? If you can take up a male perspective, please do.

    -I do have many more questions, but I'll leave with this last request: What would be your encouragement/advice for me?

    Thank you so much guys and God bless!
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Sep 20, '12 : Reason: formatting/spacing
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  3. 18 Comments so far...

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    I'm sorry for the jumbled sentencing, I originally spaced out the sentences, but it didn't turn out.
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    I have a friend who is a "male" NP. He's a damned good nurse. Started out as an NA, became an LPN, then RN, did his masters, and finally his NP. We do it slightly differently in Canada. He works in mental health/addictions.

    The role of NP was created to allow experienced nurses to work with specific populations. The best NPs I have ever worked with were nurses with at least a decade of hands on experience either on specialty services or working in our far north as out-post/reserve nurses.

    So, unless you know that you can be a nurse first, don't get to focussed on being an NP.
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    In order to became NP you first need to become an RN with bachelor degree. AP however is a different route of education. I believe you can go straight to PA program with all of pre-reqs done in lower education institution. FYI- many schools are offering DNP in many specialties. With bachelors degree you have choices: BSN-MSN (NP) or BSN-DNP (NP with doctorate).
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    Quote from indomie23
    -How long is does it take to become a NP today, preferably after 2015?Before answering, if you can, please consider the new educational requirements set for becoming a NP by 2015. If I am not mistaken, I hear that in order to become a NP one must achieve a DNP by 2015. Will that be true for most programs by 2015?
    This is just a rumor that won't go away. I haven't seen anything concrete and written in stone regarding mandatory DNP by 2015 to practice as an NP.



    Research the schools for NP and PA. There are plenty of different entry modes for the NP route, so you can decide which is a best fit for you (entry-level masters, ADN-BSN-MSN route, BSN-MSN, etc). PA schools generally require pre-req classes.

    PA and NP schools are still both competitive to get in to, so make sure all your pre-req classes are at the top of their game!

    As to picking what you want to eventually be, consider this: NP and PA have a different models - NP is nursing at the core and PA uses the medical model. Which do you want to eventually practice?

    Good luck in your future endeavors!
    ChristineN and Tinabeanrn like this.
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    You want to be independent and have your own license upon which to rely (NP) or be forever connected at the hip to a physician (PA)?
    ChristineN likes this.
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    It would be easier to answer your questions if you gave us more info. Do you already have a bachelors degree? What are your career goals? Are you interested in just clinical work or also research/teaching/policy? Are you interested in working abroad? What specialties are you interested in? Do not worry about the 2015 thing, there are no laws currently in place that NPs must have the DNP by 2015. I will be graduating with a MSN in 2015.
    Tinabeanrn likes this.
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    All good questions OP. I agree with Myelin though, do you already have your BSN? Or do you have a bachelors in something else. If you have your BSN I would say go the NP route. There are plenty of Male NPs. But if you have your bachelors in something else, it would take you longer to get a second bachelors in nursing and then add an additional 2 years to get your NP. There are several speciality areas that NPs work in. The training can be in Family (broadest route and which I am), acute/critical care, peds, neonatal, ER, adult/gerontology and womens health. As a PA you receive two intensive years of trianing. You have to complete certain prereqs and have at least 1500 hrs of patient care training, so you could be an EMT or PCT or Nurse assistant, and that would count towards the 1500 hrs. Once in the program you would have 1 years of class room lectures daily Mon-Friday from 8 to 5. So I dont see you being able to work a full time job at that time. Then the second year you start clinicals. You do a month of each service like internal medicine, ER, peds, OB, psych, OR, family practice. The last 3 months would dedicated to a speciality area that you actually want to work in ...like internal medicine. They basically work 40-60 hrs a week in clnical so I dont see you being able to work too much at this time either. Then your done !

    NP school is different depending on what program you attend. I did family. You do classroom course work and clinicals at the same time. Usually we attend class two nights a week and clinical two days per week or three days per week. You have to get so many hours done in each area. I did peds, OB, geriatrics, GI, psych, homeless shelter, adult primary care and ICU. Other found different clinic sites so not all of your clinicals are the same as your classmates. Depending on the school, you may have to find your own clinical site which can be really hard and challenging bc for some reason ppl dont want to do it. You can diffenately work in NP school. But it will be a challenge bc they keep you busy with tons and tons and tons of assignments. Most finish this in 2 years or you can go part time, depending on the school.

    Hope this helps
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    another consideration is how well you did if you have a undergrad degree already. My experience was that PA school has harder to get into than osteopathic (D.O.) schools, so even if you have a Biology Degree, your 3.3 GPA and 500 CNA hours will not get you in. And its only getting more competitive. Also, accelerated BSN programs at prestigious schools are becoming difficult to get in to as well.

    If you struggled, consider getting your ADN to become an RN. If you shadow NP's and PA's and still are indecisive, getting your RN will force you to get experience--in the real world. Then you can know what you want to do--be that be an NP, administrator, teacher, etc, and go get your MSN to do that.

    With the PA/NP thing, every state is different, so read your states board of nursing scope of practice for NP's and look up the same for PA's. That may provide some insight. The generalizations of PA's and NP's you may hear are also not fast and true. Many NP's are attached to an MD's hip and many PA's work every day without even seeing an MD. In many cases they do the exact same thing. There are holistic PA's and heartless NP's who only see the disease process.

    What I had to do was decide what I wanted to do (be a NP or PA) and seek out what methods I have to get there, then go into the first door that opens, you never know what it may do for you. If you remain open to opportunities, you will do fine.

    The male thing doesn't matter. Everyone needs a job these days. Mid level salary's vary my location and specialty. Differences you find in gender or NP/PA salary are usually due to the fact that NP's are often in primary care, and PA's in specialties, as well as women's avg pay being brought down by more women in ped's family, ob, etc. Once you account for those differences, they make similar salaries if it is the same specialty.
    Last edit by zoidberg on Sep 20, '12
    myelin likes this.
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    Well, in my current profession there are a lot of ex-patriots transitioning over to MSN-NP at the moment w/o any experience as an RN other than clinical rotations. I looked into both a while back and broader application as an NP, to me, is more favorable b/c you have a separate profession altogether. A P.A. is a physician extender period. You are an extension of the overseeing Doctor. An NP is first an RN with additional scope. In the real world...not much difference in actual duties, jobs, etc. Scope of practice is different from state to state but for the most part there is still physician oversight. Some do have independent practice rights though for BOTH PA and NP if you want your own business and just hire an MD for signoffs.

    You really have to know whether you want to be just a provider, advocate or both. Also, if you really don't like studying nursing then NP is out, you can get into PA school with other undergrad degrees but your going to at least have to have an RN to be an NP, you DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A BSN ALREADY. There are RN-MSN NP programs out there.


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