Which school for NP?

  1. I am having a really hard time deciding which school to attend for my NP. I have been accepted to Vanderbilt, University of MN and University of KY. My plan had been to go to Vandy for my MSN so that I could practice as an NP sooner, but when I got the financial aid letter with the amount of loans I would have to take printed in black and white, it really scared me. I can't decide if the Vanderbilt name is worth that kind of debt. UK and UMN are both DNP programs taking 3 years to complete. Vandy's MSN I can do in 18 months because I'm doing a dual program with Adult/Women's Health. I know that everyone has an opinion, but I would love to hear some perspective on whether a school like Vandy will get me any farther than another school that doesn't cost nearly as much.

  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   SydneyJo1
    I would like to hear the answer to this question as well. I have also been accepted to Vandy's WHNP/ANP (RN Pre-Specialty) program as well as to Marquette University's ANP program. I can tell you that when I have talked to a few physicians about this, they are always impressed by Vanderbilt. However, when I have discussed this with other nurses or NPs, they tend to feel that what school you attend doesn't matter much. I hope someone can answer this question for us!
  4. by   Spacklehead
    Depends on where you wind up wanting to work. Up here in the Northeast, Vandy wouldn't be as impressive, since there are many other "local" schools that are just as impressive, if not more so. There are many employers around here who even prefer grads from the local state schools because some have very strong nursing programs, and are well-known in the area for that fact. I would ask around in the area of the country where you plan on practicing to get an idea on what the general consensus is if the school truly matters.

    All I know is I didn't spend a ton of money for a "name" and have not had any problem landing a job.

    Just my 2 cents.
  5. by   sandnnw
    Vandy grad here. I'll say this, I attended the local, cheapest BSN program and found my education to be exhausting, overwhelming at times and very rigid.

    Vanderbilt was a "breath of fresh air" for me. I was impressed and they constantly worked with me and others to help us succeed, at times bringing in lecturers who were tops in their fields. As well, the guidance and assistance in clinical preceptorships was remarkable. For example, I remember some of my peers who wanted to specialize, somewhat heavily, in transplant, hematology, oncology, cardiology, etc. Vanderbilt Hospital, clinics offers these specialties and our professors went overboard to help guide us in that direction.

    Now realistically, did Vanderbilt offer anything that several state schools around me not offer? Mostly, no. I have precepted several students from these state schools. They have the same texts, same instruction outlines, same PDAs with software, information sharing, and clinical check-offs that I had. The graduation rates, ANCC and AANP pass rates, I would guess hire rates are all very similar. What Vanderbilt did offer was well regarded faculty, support and name recognition. What do I mean by name recognition?

    I was interviewed and subsequently hired by a team of Vanderbilt ED faculty members. I had heard that about 20 folks submitted applications, weeded down to four. One dropped out, leaving three. We all had similar credentials, FNP vs ANP, etc. We all were practicing NPs, all part-time, in either Urgent Care or fast track ED. So, besides the interviews, what was the difference? I graduated from VU. Was this the only difference? Of course not. But I believe my alma mater helped.

    Let's look at another factor. I've been a nurse 20 years. All along my career, I've heard a running joke about Vandy grads, specifically, the direct entry folks, not being up to snuff. I met several in grad school. They have a challenge. I read a few scholarly articles comparing DE vs RN's after grad school. You'd be surprised of the findings, I was, as well as many of the students in the DE program. Vandy consumes them, they are immersed and crammed thru the Trifecta BSN, then another Trifecta MSN. I'm surprised many of them don't crack under the pressure. I believe this support, faculty ratio, and drive to be the best, makes the difference at some private (and even public) graduate schools. It all starts with a dynamic Dean and motivated faculty. Compare web sites, notice anything???

    Yes, it costs a little more, but this is a pretty important part of your life. How much is that worth?

    Kentucky, you have a hard decision. I am looking at DNP programs and UK impresses me. I would imagine it would impress anyone, considering the latest USNews ratings. A couple of the faculty at Vandy attended UK and they have great things to say about the school. Good luck!
  6. by   NAURN
    You have Frontier School of Midwifery and Family nursing in Hyden. KY... all didactic work is done online, which 2-3 trips to campus made and clinical in your home community. And its really not all that expensive compared to other Universities. But you would need to either go for CNM, FNP or Woman's Health NP to go there.
  7. by   sixty3dayswithSarah
    I have had no help from Vandy in locating clinical, and for the amount of money the school will cost me for only 12 months ($76k).. Yes, its what I want, I wanted this for a long time... But, as I recently was told in an email response after I had yet again been turned down for a NP clinical..... your a distance option student, your on your own....
    Im in the Northeast, I turned down several schools here (that would have set me up in a clinical taking this out of my hands) and I wish I had not burned that bridge,
    Vandy has been cold as ice, I cant even get the financial aid office to direct me or give me a fax number...
    Im not impressed so far, especially after I have struck out with clinical, in desperation I offered to fly there and stay for several weeks to complete each requirement, NO...
  8. by   sandnnw
    Nurich, which specialty are you in?

    This is unlike Vanderbilt. They bent over backwards for me, although, I was local to Nashville. Have you talked to the director of your program? As well, there are probably alumni in your area that can help, even physicians. There is no need to fly here. What you need can be found in any major city/medical center.

    Give it some effort and time, it will work out. If you are in a saturated area, it may be a little hard, but doable. Keep your chin up.
  9. by   nikkilou10
    I just got accepted to the peds NP acute track and will be distancing from SC.
    I literally found out yesterday.
    Any suggestions for hotels, travel, etc? I will take any advice I can get.
  10. by   nursegirl4210
    Hello pre-specialty folks,

    I have questions about Vandy's RN pre-specialty program.
    I work weekends as an RN, and I plan to continue doing so when I begin their RN pre-specialty program this fall (2012). I could change to regular part-time status if I need to, which would be 6 shifts/month rather than 8.
    So I want to know if current or previous RN pre-specialty students found the program to be doable (full-time) while working part-time as well as having a toddler at home. I do have ample support from family and my husband, though!

    My next question is regarding the need for the pre-specialty semesters. I have my RN diploma as well as a non-nursing Bachelor's degree, so I could easily complete my BSN with 22 classes at a *cheaper* school. I feel I could do this before my specialty classes begin next fall (2013).

    However, with that route, I may be required to reapply to my specialty program after completing a BSN. I'd need to ask Vandy about that. Has anyone else had similar concerns with your decision to enroll in the RN pre-specialty program?

    Overall, I'll have 2 semesters of RN pre-specialty, and then 3 semesters of my specialty classes. I'm open to any thoughts or advice from y'all!

    Thanks so much, and best wishes to everyone here!
  11. by   IrishIzCPNP
    I have never heard of a pre-specialty or specialty program. I'm not sure I understand. What level degree is it?
  12. by   Riburn3
    In my opinion the best school to attend is one that is local/regional, affordable, and helps you in obtaining clinicals. Outside of maybe 2 or 3 schools, nursing degrees are all a piece of paper.

    If you attend a school in your region, it will be known by the places that will be hiring you after you graduate, and if you are experienced in your region, you likely already have good connections.

    Cost is also a huge factor. I could never imagine dropping the kind of money top schools like Vandy and Georgetown are asking for. Our two local NP programs are between 3-4k a semester, and total bill coming to just above $15,000 for the entire degree. At that cost you can pay it off as you go without having to pile on the debt.

    Lastly, clinical assistance is a big deal, especially if you have limited experience as a nurse with few connection, or if you are moving to a new area for school. Being forced to find your own clinicals can be a huge burden and create a lot of stress in an already stressful point in you life. Some people won't have issue with this at all, as I have known some nurses going to online degree mill programs that already have their clinicals lined up before they start the program. However, a program that places you or at least helps you at can be priceless.
  13. by   RDMStoFNP
    How much does Georgetown cost?
  14. by   lii804
    I believe Georgetown is about 1600$ per credit hour. The information regarding tuition is confusing via the website. There may be a difference between online and on campus costs.