I realize these occupations are quite different, but I'm in the process of making some important decisions and would like some feedback. I recently decided that I wanted to pursue a Master's in Occupational Therapy. I have a medical background and am currently a massage therapist. As I already have a BA, this route would require a few more pre-reqs and 30 months of grad level coursework (as the OT degree now requires an MSOT).
However, I recently spoke to someone who owns several clinics (neuropathy, etc.) across the US and he strongly advised me to pursue an NP degree. This could possibly require more education and more time than the MSOT (pursuing the BSN first, then the Master's for NP, and possibly a Doctorate depending on when those requirements change.) His reasoning for this is that the changes in healthcare we're facing in the US will (1) significantly lower and limit the reimbursement rates to OTs by Medicare; (2) cause private insurance to follow Medicare in lowering reimbursement rates; and (3) cause private pay (particularly OT) patients to significantly decrease over the years.
His reasoning for pursuing the NP are valid, ie increased demand due to access to care, increase retirement rates of MDs, increased independence of NPs due to demand, etc.
I am not taking this decision lightly. I am trying to carefully consider all factors, including the cost of education, future demand, salary, physical demands of the job, etc.
One last thing that is of concern, although I admit I haven't researched this, is talk of the possibility of increasing the educational requirements of NPs (just as has recently happened with OTs). This would affect my decision as well, at least to a certain degree.
Oct 10, '13
Nursing is a fabulous profession with tons of options. Yes, it would take you longer to reach your end goal than OT, but you'd have more future job options. My knowledge of OT is just my interaction with them in the hospital, but it seems like they don't get an opportunity to really interact and get to know the patients. They just come in, do their 15 min of stuff and leave. If you like having more of a relationship with your patients, nursing is better. Also, as an NP, you are the one deciding the treatment plan and figuring out how to optimize the patient's health. You are the one putting the order in for OT, if they need it. That autonomy and connection between the work you do and the impact it has on the patient's health is very rewarding. You know you make a difference in your patients' lives every day you come to work. I'm not sure you get that same feeling as an OT.
As for the DNP change, it is simply a suggestion. Nothing is mandated and it doesn't seem like anything will be any time soon. There is too great of a faculty shortage to be able to mandate something like this, imo. So I wouldn't worry about it.