Duke NP graduates.... worth it?

Nursing Students NP Students Nursing Q/A

I am (excitedly) looking into nursing programs to hopefully enroll in within the next year. I have been intrigued by Duke, not only for it's ranking but for the fact that I could add some specialty education, which isn't easy to find!

Things I'm worried about:

1. COST. I'm guessing its going to be between 75-100K for me to complete this degree at duke... and I recently learned FASFA doesn't have any grants for grad school So whether or not having the high profile degree is worth the extra money is a concern of mine.

2. TIME. I've reached out to the program with no response so far, but I'm having a hard time seeing what the part time options are like for distance students. Does anyone know how long this program is when done part time?

3. COMPETITION. I know I'm not alone in this, but when I went through nursing school 10 years ago I was on the tail end of some pretty intense bullying from my professors. I have a TERRIBLE taste in my mouth from nursing school, but still have a huge desire to advance my education and professional experience. I worry a bit that a school as high profile as Duke would be hugely competitive and leave me feeling a bit beaten down again. This is the topic I get most nervous about!

Thank you to anyone who finished reading my tome ?

I appreciate the advice!

why is it 84 hours per week even working as full time? RN?

32 minutes ago, HiFive said:

why is it 84 hours per week even working as full time? RN?

I’m sorry I meant every two weeks.

It's still like overloaded. I work 3 shifts per week, so 36 hours +.

Unfortunately that’s my set schedule as a military nurse. I was wondering if you could give share some information regarding the amount of workload for the core courses ?

I am just admitted to Fall 2019.

On 3/28/2019 at 5:26 AM, HiFive said:

why is it 84 hours per week even working as full time? RN?

I’m sorry I meant 84 hours every two weeks that’s my set schedule as a military nurse.

On 2/6/2019 at 6:51 PM, bug2621 said:

I graduated from Duke 12/18 and actually passed boards today. You are estimating cost correctly but there are sometimes scholarships as well. I had one so my loans were a little less.

I completed the program part time and it took me 3 years. Although, you can do it in as little as 2.5, I had an extra semester because there were just too many clinical hours to complete between my specialty and final synthesis. I couldn’t work and handle the hours. I found Duke extremely supportive in everything. It wasn’t like nursing school where you were competing with each other or professors trying to trip you up. They were so supportive and I had the absolute best advisor in the world.

The other thing with Duke is of course the name and the alumni network. I also liked that they placed me in all of my clinicals and I didn’t have to find places. I had amazing preceptors as well.


Would you mind share if you work full time or part time? Is your Duke program a distance learning or in campus? Would you feel supportive if online program?

I have an unrelated question... not sure if any current students can answer my question.

On the Duke website there are two conflicting parts for the PMHNP tract.

1. on the PMHNP page it says that applicants must have at least one year ICU/Medsurg acute care experience.

2. on the admissions page it does not state this requirement (but it does state a requirement for a few different tracts).

Does anyone one know which is true? I want to do the PMHNP tract but don't have any acute care experience....

Specializes in Psychiatric and Mental Health NP (PMHNP).

The school you go to as an NP student does matter. There is no "cheap" NP school. Duke is an excellent, reputable school with a strong alumni network. That will give you a big advantage when looking for a job. In addition, Duke will find your preceptors. If you don't think that is worth it, then read all the posts on this forum from NP students that can't find preceptors. When you are looking for work, you will likely be hired by an MD, and MDs care very much about schools. I went to a big name school and every MD I sent my resume to wanted to interview me and they made it clear it was because of my school. Based on my experience and reading this forum, the big name schools are very committed to ensuring their students graduate and find a job, so they work with their students closely and also provide a lot of job coaching and placement help. For example, I went through some personal difficulties and my advisor and professors did a lot to help me and I did graduate on time, thanks to them. It seems some schools, especially the for-profit schools, don't do that.

There are indeed scholarships and grants for NP students. There are full-ride scholarships that include a living stipend through HRSA and the Nurse Corps. Most states also offer these. Some local governments such as counties also have scholarships and grants. Such programs do require you work a certain amount of time in an underserved area (rural or inner city). There may be grants available as well. My school had a $25,000 grant for primary care NP students, but only one professor knew about it, so make sure to talk to all your professors! Individual schools may have special scholarships and grants for NP students.

Loans can be worth it, depending on your projected income and cost of living. There are also federal and state loan repayment and loan forgiveness programs in return for working in underserved areas or for government facilities. Some employers also provide loan repayment.

I won a Nurse Corps scholarship for 18 months, which paid full tuition and also at that time, $1400 per month for living expenses. I just wish I had applied sooner and gotten a full 2 year scholarship. In return, I am working for 2 years in a rural FQHC and it's a great first job.

One of my NP colleagues went to a reputable state NP program and he worked full time as an RN and graduated with no debt, but he admits he was very miserable and stressed out. He was an international student, so he couldn't get loans. He told me he would have been happy to get some loans if he could have.

Some NP schools will accommodate part-time students, so working part time or full time is an option if you are willing to take longer to get your MSN.

Specializes in Psychiatric and Mental Health NP (PMHNP).

Also, with regard to bullying. I found that the MSN professors did not engage in any bullying and the students were treated much better than in the BSN program.

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health.
10 hours ago, Thanksforthedonuts said:

1. on the PMHNP page it says that applicants must have at least one year ICU/Medsurg acute care experience.

Why not ask them directly?

It's a strange requirement. I've never seen a PMHNP program requiring med-surg experience and further adds that psych RN experience is helpful but not needed. What a way to devalue psych experience. If true, I would take a pass with that school. Duke is great, but not the only great school. Its PMHNP program is brand new, so that's something to keep in mind as well.

Inpatient med-surg is definitely not highly relevant to psych, and even less so for the psych NP role. The population I've worked with has serious comorbidities, and I know how to handle most of their health issues within the context of psych nursing from having a solid BSN education. Furthermore, as a psych NP student, we don't just learn about psych meds and psych conditions and pretend that all psych patients have only psych issues and no medical issues.

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health.
4 minutes ago, Thanksforthedonuts said:

Can you recommend a solid PMHNP program?

When I applied, I only chose programs in my area that guarantee clinical placements so I never looked outside of the state or online programs.

I know Vanderbilt has an online program and I think Rush University also has a distance program, but you have to go for the DNP. Both are top notch in psych.

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