Accelerated BSN vs. Direct Entry Masters (for NP)??

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This is my first time posting/asking a question, so first of all thank you for reading.

Like many others, I'm going to get my bachelor's in a non-nursing major. I'm a rising junior, so I have some time before I need to really start looking at programs, but here is my dilemma:

I'm really interested in Psych/Mental Health NP. The reason is that for the past 2 years I was fulfilling prerequisites for medical school as a premed student, but all along I knew that I was only interested in psychiatry, not really any of the other fields. This made me see the premed courses as obstacles, and I could never love science as much as some of the other students who are planning to pursue surgery/internal medicine/etc. On the other hand, I couldn't see myself being a clinical psychologist because I felt that there wasn't enough of a science background. At this point I found out about Psych/Mental Health NP, which seems like a perfect compromise between the previous two choices.

Now, I realize that in order to fulfill my career goal, I need to get a master's. I am having a dilemma because I've read many comments on allnurses from people who believe that any person trying to become a NP should "pay their dues" and work as an RN before pursuing a higher degree. While I fully understand this sentiment, I feel that I'm in a different boat because Psych nursing is a unique category compared to ICU, ER etc (please feel free to correct me). In addition, I think ideally I would like to work in a mental health clinic rather than a hospital, where most nurses work.

So, my question comes down to:

A. should I go for the accelerated BSN, which means I will most likely have to work as an RN in a hospital (something I don't think I would want to do in the longterm) before I can get my masters,


B. should I look at the direct entry masters programs for Psych/Mental Health NP, and hopefully (ideally) get my degree and find a job in a mental health clinic?

Thank you in advance for all your input!


366 Posts

Specializes in GYN/GON/Med-Surg/Oncology/Tele.

Working in a hospital isn't such a bad thing. There are hospitals out there with Psych wards. Either way, I believe the first part of the direct entry programs train you to be able to sit for the NCLEX, then after like a year of clinical experience you go back and get your Master's degree in whatever specialty. I could be wrong but that's definitely the set up of a school I was considering for an alternate entry MSN program.

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