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FNP vs Women's Health

by farfalle farfalle (New) New


So I have only worked in labor and delivery--10 years and I absolutely know that my niche is working with women. I finally decided it was the right time to go back to school. I can only see myself ever wanting to work with women in a clinical setting therefore I was going to get my WHNP. However, my mentor, a CNM has been telling me that I REALLY REALLY should get my fnp instead b/c I would be more marketable and I could still get a job in women's health. Now I am so so confused.

If I know I only want to work with women why waste more time and money getting my FNP. Then again, 15 years from now I might want to switch fields. Then again, if I haven't used the FNP knowledge for 15 years, I surely would have lost it.

Any advice????

Anyone find that a MSN/WHNP is a hard degree to use and to get a job with??

mom2michael, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Rural Health.

My preceptor is a WHNP too and she loved it and had a great job for awhile. That being the key - awhile. When her job went away (OB/GYN she worked with retired) there were no more WHNP jobs out there. She went back and got her FNP and said it was the best thing she ever did. She does most of the well women stuff at work now but she said sometimes it's nice to see a HTN patient or someone with a cold every once and awhile too. She was really nervous about being a FNP after being a WHNP for the better part of 20 years but she said it's great and she totally loves it. She said she wished she would've done it from the start. It's opened up a lot of opportunities for her.

For me, being a FNP will open up more doors than just one or two and since I have no clue what my life will hold 5 or even 10 years from now, I want to be able to open the doors without having to go back to school yet again. I love the idea of being able to see anyone from birth to death and everything in between.

such good advice. thank you!

i think i "know" i need to get my fnp instead of whnp I just am not there yet in my heart.

Thank you! I really want to work with women, but I have also decided that FNP is the safest and most versatile route to pursue. Now, I just need to make sense of Stats to get into the program :(

I see your point with going with a FNP, but as a WHNP student right now, I can tell you that there are plenty of jobs out there for us. Like you, I knew I really only wanted to work with women so I am in this track and absolutely love it. None of our graduates have trouble finding jobs after graduation. Just thought I'd give my 2 cents! Godd luck!


Specializes in Advanced Practice, Home Care, Med-Surg,. Has 13 years experience.

As an Adult NP myself, which isn't very different than FNP, since I can treat ages 13 and up, I would recommend the FNP program. When I got my ANP almost 5 yrs ago I knew I never wanted to work peds AT ALL, I didn't see the need for a FNP. Since that time I have missed opportunites that wanted FNPs only. Now that I am going Army I will likely pursue the FNP certification before getting a docturate degree because the FNP is the only NP truly recognized in the Army, which means sitting for boards once again.

NP board certification isn't easy, it somehting that you only want to do one time. Why not let that one time be for a certification that will cover every thing. It is hard to predict the future, our selves, our families, the health care market- especially with health care reform underway. If you have a FNP you will be prepared for whatever the future holds. That may be Women's health but it may not... but either way you will be ready but also you may be able to help your women's health patients even more with the FNP knowledge/prep that you will have.

Best wishes!


Specializes in OB. Has 25 years experience.

such good advice. thank you!

i think i "know" i need to get my fnp instead of whnp I just am not there yet in my heart.

I'm exactly where you are... 24 of my 25 years of nursing have been in OB - LDRP, nursery, SCN, mom/baby (though I did do about a 2-1/2 yr part-time stint in a peds office and peds/adult home health in addition to my full-time job when money was tight). Women's health is where my heart lies, but my head keeps telling me I need to go with FNP. I checked the box for WHNP on all the referral forms I gave the people I needed to have fill them out, but I still haven't checked the box on my actual applications. I have to make up my mind soon because the application for Frontier is due in a couple of weeks.

I'm really leaning towards going with my heart though. I feel like I didn't make it to 50 to finish my RN to BSN then finish my career with something I don't wholeheartedly want to do. I've got at least another 25 years to work and I want to be happy. If I have to relocate, life will go on - and who knows, it may go on in an even better place! Good luck with your decision!

ditto...I too am a labor and delivery nurse and truly love women's health. However, I am going to get my FNP because I can still work in women's health with a FNP. With a WHNP I would only be able to do women's health. I can't imagine not ever working in women's health but who knows...maybe one day I will wake up and just be sick of vag exams...the FNP will give me the ability to change specialties.

My dream was also WHNP, but I've taken a good hard look at the working world around me. And finally realized that what I needed to be marketable was a FNP. Yes, I'd rather work as a WHNP. But will I be able to move anywhere, or wait >1 year to have that job while still working the floor and paying for student loans? No. My experience is in mother/baby/gyn but I've got 5 kids, and I need to do what I can to make myself as likely as possible to get a job without uprooting them from their schools etc.

That's just me. Maybe if I were single and it was easy to travel...

But I will tell you this. Your perspective can change! Since starting the FNP program over a year ago, my heart has shifted. I realized what I REALLY wanted was to be a PMHNP. But, after talking to several schools, and what not, I am unable to transfer (and get credit for many of the courses I've already taken). I just can't afford that financial hit. If I still feel the same way in a couple of years after graduation, there is always the post-master's cert route.

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