I think after four or five years of stewing on this, I have decided to start down the path of nursing education, leading toward a PMHNP (family). I have a BA in psych, an MS in social justice studies, and an MSW in direct human service work. My prior work history includes running a DV shelter, working in boys' residential treatment and therapeutic foster care, ER social work (which I loved, loved, loved!), and now providing youth and family mental health crisis response.
I see really clearly how having additional training on psychopharm and prescriptive authority would be really helpful. Plus, child and adolescent mental health has rather picked me as a specialty. I never intended to be "that annoying lady who tells you how to parent your kid but doesn't have any of her own."
In addition, I FINALLY completed my WFR (wilderness first responder) 10 day training. It's been on my to-do list since 2004. It was some of the best training I've ever had in ANYthing. It helped me to realize exactly how excited I get learning medical stuff. Given my interest in emergency medicine, I wonder if I wouldn't be better off doing an FNP (focusing on acute care), or stopping after by RN to get some ER nursing experience.
I took one biology and one chemistry class when I was an undergrad music major 20 years ago (EGAD INDEED!) now. So I will obviously have my hands full with prerequisites for a while. I've decided to start with the nutrition class to see how it goes.
So I'm looking at at least 6 prerequisite courses-- 2 chemistry, microbiology, 2 anatomy and physiology, plus the nutrition. I have the statistics and developmental psych, as long as they aren't required to be in the last 10 years.
Then *hopefully* an accelerated BSN program, and then into a DNP program for three years.
I am working full time in the crisis response program, and it doesn't leave me with lot of extra energy for volunteering because of the level of self-care required to do my job well. Do you think this will count as "hands-on" health care experience because I'm in and out of emergency rooms and IPU (inpatient psych units) all day long?
I want to make my application really competitive, and assume I will probably get mostly As with maybe a B for my science classes.
Any words of advice or encouragement as I start exploring down this path?
Oh, also, editing to add that I am *really* committed to working with under-served populations. Anyone have experience with loan forgiveness programs for PMHNP work?