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Bad idea to quit after 6m as a new grad for DNP school?

Nurses   (2,052 Views 39 Comments)
by Theanxiousnurse Theanxiousnurse, BSN (New Member) New Member Nurse

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JBMmom has 6 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care.

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I think that one of the challenges, in any field, with returning to school to advance before a significant amount of work experience is that you haven't been exposed to many aspects of these careers. Are you sure that a DNP will actually get you the role you're looking for? I know very few bedside DNP nurses, usually APRN preparedness concentrates more on the provision of care, and the DNP is a research based degree. You might consider working as a nurse practitioner and then completing the research aspect of the DNP part time while working?

For example, In my first go around of education I was in a PhD program and wanted to be a research scientist, I found out that none of the PhD jobs were doing the research, they had to manage the people doing the research. So I stepped out at the MS level and loved doing bench science for the next 17 years under PhDs that went to school to never do actual experiments again, some regretted that decision.

I'm surprised that you said you found your dream job, though, and then still applied to school with so little experience. Is there a reason you don't want to stay a little longer, save some money, get the experience and then return to school?

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Pixie.RN has 18 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

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5 hours ago, SmilingBluEyes said:

These programs endanger patient care and the very profession of Advanced Nurse Practice. It's why I am not really interested in seeing an NP for my family's or my care any more. UNLESS I know they have actual experience as a nurse----something that is not as much taught as is EXPERIENCED with years of work, I don't trust them. Nor these schools, who after all, are only after your money. The lower the standards, the worse it all gets.

Yep. I had a bad experience with a DNP-prepared NP in a specialty clinic with my daughter; she dismissed my assessment of my child and the advice she gave me was 100% wrong. I refused to see her for our post-surgical follow-up. I found out she had been an NP for less than a year, and had only been a nurse for a couple of years total. As a nurse I want to support fellow nurses, but this experience has undone that urge. 

On the flip side, as a pregnant patient of "advanced maternal age" a couple of years ago, I had a phenomenal experience with an NP who did the majority of my maternity care. But she was a nurse for a decade prior to NP

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OP- You probably should have searched this topic a bit on this forum.  I am surprised the thread went so long before criticism of this type of education came up.

In my experience, competent, experienced RNs don't have a lot of respect for NPs who are not strong nurses.

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Okay, legit not trying to be a jerk. But, honestly ask yourself, would you want a new NP with only 6 months actual nursing experience caring for you or your loved ones, say after some sort of terrible trauma where your/their life is swinging that fine line of life/death? Try to remove yourself, your feelings and your wants from that hypothetical question before answering yourself. 

It sounds like your mind is made up which is fine. But is quitting & having a 3-5 year gap of nursing practice seem wise? Yes, I know you have rotations, but that's not quite the same as floor experience, being in it & being in charge of your patient fully is what I mean. Little different being on the floor working than doing rotations, you get what I mean.

I have 2 small kids. So I get how you feel. I even quit during nursing school to be home with them. I get it. You want what you want, which is all well & good, but maybe you should consider your approach? Of course you never get your time back with your kids, but also do you want to be mediocre or even a ill prepared practitioner? You're in a bit of a pickle. 

For whatever my two cents mean, I think it would be a mistake to leave the bedside completely for 3-5 years. Personally I would not have done what you have, but everyone's journey is different & your mind is made up sounds like.  But, also consider the quality of practitioner you want to be as you kinda have barreled right into this.

Dont forget, employers may also consider how much experience you have behind you when hiring. And depending on your area, that could be a uphill battle already. 

Edited by MiladyMalarkey

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LibraSunCNM has 10 years experience as a MSN and specializes in OB.

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I hate to be a Negative Nelly, but I agree with the general sentiment that what you're planning is setting you up to be poorly prepared.  I am ALL about higher education and all about supporting other advanced-practice nurses, but I truly believe the current state of *most* DNP programs is that a lot of otherwise highly regarded universities are marketing these programs completely unethically.  Higher education has changed drastically in the last decade or so, with a huge exodus towards online-based programs that are much more flexible and affordable.  Many high end brick-and-mortar schools have suffered as a consequence, and have had to find ways to bring cash in.  Voila---the DNP!  They lure people in the door with notions like "a DNP will soon be the entry to practice" and "actual nursing experience is not necessary to be a clinical nursing doctorate."  Even if they seem competitive, I guarantee that you could defer your enrollment and return, or still get into a different "good" (I don't even know how I would define a good DNP program because I find the degree itself so vague) DNP program.  These program desperately want your money, trust me.

If I were you, I would keep working at your current job for at least another year and defer the DNP until you have a more solid foundation.

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brandy1017 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Critical Care.

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I agree with the others that you should at least have a year experience, before going on.  I understand science classes can expire within five years so you don't want to wait too long.  I believe you can still gain valuable nursing experience while you are in school since it will take several years to graduate.  But I don't think you should quit your job and plan to go to school without continuing on the job nursing experience.  That would be a mistake. 

One many schools require you to find your own preceptor and working you'll know more doctors and NP's to ask to let you precept.  Also with the consolidation of healthcare it is harder to find preceptors as many facilities only allow their Dr's & NP's to precept students that work within their system.  Plus there has been a boom of NP schools so there are probably more students needing clinicals than are available where you live.  Likewise when you graduate you may have to move to find your first job due to a glut in NP's.  Keep this in mind.

 

Your program may be good, but you should not shortchange yourself and your future patients by quitting your job.  When you have more experience you will probably be able to get a float pool/prn nursing job where you can work part time and set your own schedule. 

My advice to you do school part-time till you have at least a year's work experience than switch to pool, part-time and go full time in school.

Edited by brandy1017

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noyesno has 9 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP.

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IMO: having bedside experience is crucial to being a good NP. I have worked 8+ years in the hospital and will be starting my first NP job in a few weeks. I cannot imagine launching my career as a NP without that bedside foundation. 

However: you gotta go what cha gotta do. I get it. 

Try to find a part-time nursing gig. Bedside or in an office. 

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Undercat has 41 years experience as a BSN, MSN, CRNA and specializes in Retired.

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How would you know what KIND (specialty) you would even want without any practice?  

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So I'm a current BSN student, and while I'm unsure I'll want to get an NP degree (whether MSN or DNP), I'm curious to see what y'all would consider to be enough bedside experience. I 100% agree that 6 months seems like too little, but when does that change? 2 years? 5 years? Thanks 😀

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Pixie.RN has 18 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

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6 minutes ago, Bloop41 said:

So I'm a current BSN student, and while I'm unsure I'll want to get an NP degree (whether MSN or DNP), I'm curious to see what y'all would consider to be enough bedside experience. I 100% agree that 6 months seems like too little, but when does that change? 2 years? 5 years? Thanks 😀

I'm a fan of Patricia Benner's novice to expert model. Personally, I wouldn't even start an NP program until I was at least in the proficient to expert range. But that is just me — I would probably want to be an ER NP if I were ever an NP, and there is much to learn as an ER nurse first. 

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I have worked alongside MDs, PAs, and NPs. I would trust some of the NPs and PAs over some of our MDs diagnoses any day. Some MDs don't bother with learning new evidence-based practice.

Do you have an idea of the specialty you'd like to enter after graduation (Urgent Care, pulmonology, dermatology)? Can you get a job as a part time RN within that specialty? If you want to work in Urgent Care, ER experience would be highly recommended as our patients are becoming more and more complex every year. Our PAs and NPs are expected to handle the most complex.

I know we are all different, but there is no way I could have handled DNP school with 2 children in diapers. I would be looking back and regretting the time not spent enjoying them. Remember, there is a MD shortage. Our NPs and PAs are being used and abused right now. Your life is going to be crazy after graduation too.

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2 hours ago, Pixie.RN said:

I'm a fan of Patricia Benner's novice to expert model. Personally, I wouldn't even start an NP program until I was at least in the proficient to expert range. But that is just me — I would probably want to be an ER NP if I were ever an NP, and there is much to learn as an ER nurse first. 

My 4 years of Psych RN experience were essential to my success as a psych NP.

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