MSN for Non-nurses, your opinion... - page 2

I know that I am setting myself up for some serious criticism in this forum, but what do you think of NP programs for people who are not yet nurses? Since I have 2 sisters who are RN's I have gotten... Read More

  1. by   Bonnie Blue
    I am one of those career changers. I have a
    BS and MS in exercise science and have been accepted to a 2 year combined RN/MSN program. I have 6-7 years of healthcare experience, cardiac rehab, EKG, monitor room. I will be working as a PCT to get more clinical experience. I am 35 and single so a 2 year program works better for me from a financial and career prosective. I know I will have to earn the respect of my peers. I certainly don't expect it just because of the intials after my name. I am committed to the profession and will do my best.
  2. by   fergus51
    I don't mean to give you the impression that I have a chip on my shoulder or don't like advanced practice nurses. Quite the opposite. I think NPs, CNMs, and nurse anesthetists are AMAZING and should be recognized for their HUGE amount of education and experience. I would rather see a NP than an MD anyday. But you ASKED what people thought. I am only anwering your question.

    One of the reasons I think these professionals are amazing is the experience. I am not trying to discourage you but I just don't think that book learning is enough for most people. If I were in your shoes I would write my boards then work for a while before getting my masters.
    NRSKarenRN, I don't like the idea of BSN students going straight for their master either.

    Patty, you may be the type of person that is capable of learning it all in that time and if you are: good luck and I hope everything works out for you. I just think you would be an exception.

    Please don't call me catty though....sigh...I try to be nice and respectful of others...and I do ABSOLUTELY LOVE my job...
  3. by   -jt
    are you saying you are going to become a specialist in nursing without ever having worked as a nurse? When I chose my woman's health NP, I did so based on her many years of experience in the field as an RN - not on her title. I dont agree that a person should be able to just be in school forever getting degrees & never work in the job before they come out with the title of expert in it. And whatever happened to the requirement of having worked a certain number of years in a particular specialty of nursing before being eligible to sit for ACCN specialty certification in it? You said you might sometime work as a nurse while going to school for all these advanced degrees "if that is necessary".
    Of course its necessary.
  4. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by patty26:
    [B]Just to clarify, a BSN is given after a year of school, which is followed by sitting for the RN licensure exam. Also, to some peoples dismay, graduates are qualified to sit for the NP certification exams in the specialty the student chooses following completion of the program.

    in a next post you say these graduates can legitimatlty use the title MSN after their names or am I reading this wrong? I thought I missed a post but as far as I can tell, the BSN graduates you mentioned above are the ones youre saying can use the title MSN.
    If you can take the NP boards after completing just your BSN, why are so many of my colleagues killing themselves getting their MSN/NP when they already have the BSN? This doesnt make sense.... a BSN can use the title MSN & take the NP exam????
    I must be lost here.
  5. by   -jt
    [QUOTE]After completion of the BSN portion, they are able to sit for boards. Upon licensure,they therefore can begin practicing as an RN and complete their MSN program within 1yr to 18 months. How is that much different from a student who completes BSN program then enters directly into MSN program and graduates 18 months later??

    Key words "begin practicing as an RN". The critical difference I see is that one obtains experience in the field shes to specialize in & the other becomes ADVANCED Practice without ever having practiced at all. Having a had experience in a real clinical job as an RN for at least a year should be a requirement before beginning the MSN part of the program.

    remember, You asked for opinions.
  6. by   -jt
    Originally posted by Bonnie Blue:
    I am one of those career changers. I have a
    BS and MS in exercise science and have been accepted to a 2 year combined RN/MSN program. I have 6-7 years of healthcare experience, cardiac rehab, EKG, monitor room. I will be working as a PCT to get more clinical experience. I am 35 and single so a 2 year program works better for me from a financial and career prosective. I know I will have to earn the respect of my peers. I certainly don't expect it just because of the intials after my name. I am committed to the profession and will do my best.
    at least you have a job in the real healthcare world -although those do not prepare you to be an RN - but its a least a step into reality. I still dont think NPs should be out there opening up a practice as nurse specialists when they have no experience being a nurse?

    when all these people who arent nurses hop out of nursing school with their masters in nursing after 2 years & no RN work experience, what job will they get???
    nurse MANAGERS? nurse EDUCATORS?? nurse EXECUTIVES??? directing other nurses when they havent ever worked a day as an RN themselves??? (and experience as a PCT does not count - its a whole different world)
    Or will they be out sharing in a practice, & responsible for pts on their own, having had no experience caring for pts other than their schools clinical rotations? Theres something wrong with all of that.
    btw .....
    PAs can not compare or compete with NPs... PAs have much less education than NPs... If you want to compare, we can say PAs are like first yr interns & the NP is the Fellow.
    PAs just do the scut work for the MD.

    and Patty..... you said:
    "Most people outside of the nursing community would see no difference in the credentials of an NP who graduated from one of these programs vs. the "traditional route". I have been applauded by many of the MD's that I work with, who actually view advanced practice nurses as completely different PROFESSION than that of classic RN's. There is so much negativity circulating among the posters on this and other message boards relating to the nursing community. Obviously may Nurses, of all ranks and titles, are walking around with a huge chip on their shoulders.....myself, would be crazy for getting involved in this career, especially when there are so many other professions that would be glad to have someone with the credentials that I already have.........."[Q]

    But you dont have nursing credentials. If you want to be an ADVANCED Practice nurse, you should BE a nurse first. Id ask would you use the public's ignorance about a nurses education to gain their trust? If they knew you were an NP who never, ever worked as an RN, would they be so willing to put themselves into your hands? As an NP, would you tell them that you are their primary provider but never cared for pts before other than a few in nursing school? (& then you werent doing it on your own) And if you did tell them that, dont you think they would suddenly recognize a difference between you and "the classic nurse" they expected? Also, just so you know in case you ever do work in a hospital, most of us do not get our self-worth from what the MDs think. We dont need them to tell us we are excellent nurses for it to be true. Your last sentence sums up exactly what I thought when I read you post: "obviously...... walking around with a huge chip on ....."

    Good luck in your career choices.
  7. by   cbuttonrn
    One of the things that anoy me about public forums like this are people talking about topics that they know nothing about.

    PA's and NP ARE funtionaly the same. As an NP married to a PA I know this for a fact. My wife actually hase almost 4 times the clinical time that I do. And as to PA's only doing the DOc's scut work, well I've got NP friends who fit that description. There is nothing in my nursing practice that prepared me for being an NP, other than being used to dealing with patients. I got that from the years I spent as a Paramedic before becoming a nurse.

    As an educator, I've learned that all attempts to cluster people by catagory are doomed to fail. An RN who worked in a low acutity, low volume environment doesn't have the same clinical experience that one who works in a high volume, hig acutiy environment, but as nurses we tend to forget that in these discusions. If our evaluation tool is effective, then it should make no difference how a person came about the knowledge and skills.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that all discusion that deal in generalities are flawed. Untill we find a way to focus on individual abilities, all we do is spin our wheels.
  8. by   Chris-FNP
    I am so sick and tired of hearing "You have to work as an RN for years before you can be an NP." Blah, blah, blah.

    Read this closely...An NP is not an RN and vice-versa. Apples and oranges people. Both fruit, but a lot different.

    As a new-grad NP from a bridge program, I know a lot more medically than veteran RNs that I've worked with in the last year. Sure, the veteran RNs may have a great deal of knowledge, but its not the same type of thing that an NP studies.

  9. by   -jt
    Originally posted by Chris-FNP:
    An NP is not an RN

    that's news.
  10. by   Chris-FNP
    JT, why don't you finish my quote to include everything I said. Not just the words you chose in order to tailor it to look like I am downgrading RNs or something. I'm just being realistic. This is how NPs function. Be fair in your posts.

  11. by   -jt
    Originally posted by Chris-FNP:
    [B]JT, why don't you finish my quote to include everything I said. Chris-FNP
    "An NP is not an RN...."

    That IS what you said. Maybe more to the fact would have been to say an NP is not a P or an EMT. The truth is you cannot be an NP without first being an RN. In fact, in many programs, the only way you can start an NP program without a Masters is by having a BSN & a ton of years of clinical experience. Many NP programs require a certain number of years of clinical experience, a BSN AND a Masters degree. I dont know how a program can churn out an "expert specialist" in nursing when the person never even was a nurse or worked the job to begin with. Its interesting to see how in this discussion RNs are being looked down on by "nursing expert" NPs who never even worked as nurses in their lives.
    And people wonder why there is divison in the ranks. I turned down a place in the NP program at a prestigious school in NYC because they had this "alternative to a second-career program" youre talking about.
    I dont agree with it. Someone who has never been a nurse has no business being made an "expert" in the profession.

    When you all talk about being NPs & never having been nurses or ever had a job as a nurse, it is as absurd to me as taking a CPA, sending him to classes for a while & then making him the head of the Police dept's Forensics Squad - without his ever having been a detective or ever having even worked as a cop.... and then he gets an attitude about his superiority over what he deems to call the "traditonal" cop. Ridiculous.
  12. by   Chris-FNP

    I hear you and I respect your opinion...but I disagree with your idea that an NP "has" to be an RN for years in order to be a good NP. You, I assume, are not an NP. If you are, then I stand corrected. If your not an NP, then you do not know what it is that an NP does on a daily basis. You may know NPs, but if you don't practice as one, its not the same thing.

    An RN does not utilize his/her knowledge of the pathphysiology of disease to diagnose and treat medical illnesses on a daily basis. An RN does not understand the intensive pharmacology involved, nor have a DEA number, to prescribe medications on a daily basis. An RN's role and an NP's role, IN REALITY, are completely different.

    You can be a fantastic NP without ever being a floor nurse...because the role is different. If you were an NP, you would see this. If you are an NP and still feel the way you do, then I respect that and we just won't ever agree on the matter.

    Nurses are so resistent to accept the fact that NPs practice more medicine than nursing. This is just a fact today. Is it the way it should be? Maybe not. But its a fact. Personally, I do feel that I integrate some core nursing beliefs in my practice, but overall, I practice more medicine on a daily basis. A lot of what you learn in NP school is medical. What HMOs want of NPs today is medically based. HMOs want to have someone that they can pay less yet bill medical codes so they can make more money...this is the reality of the situation. I didn't make the rules.

    One can spend 20 years as an RN and still be a bad NP because he/she just cannot grasp material like pathophysiology or pharmacology...or how to integrate the abnormal findings in a physical exam to the actual treatment of the disease. These are skills not taught in BSN programs. Why? Because RNs don't medically diagnose or prescribe. That is my point.

    The core of an NP may still be a nurse, but, what an NP does today (in most places) is practice medicine on a lower level than that of an MD.

    As far as these non-RN to NP programs are concerned, I think that they consistently produce great NPs. Probably because they only accept the best and the brightest. The programs are intense and time-consuming. And remember, we still take the same NCLEX as everyone else. Incidently, my non-RN to NP program had the highest NCLEX pass rate in the country (from what I was told). Does that mean a test makes someone a better nurse? No, I'm not implying that. But, it is important to have a strong knowledge base when your actually diagnosing and treating diseases.


    RNs and NPs are both nurses, but practice in very different ways. Both play a very important role in healthcare today. Neither one is better than the other. A good NP can be someone who worked 20 years as an RN or someone who worked 6 months as an RN.


    [This message has been edited by Chris-FNP (edited March 21, 2001).]
  13. by   -jt
    Originally posted by Chris-FNP:
    still feel the way you do, then I respect that and we just won't ever agree on the matter.
    Nurses are so resistent to accept the fact that NPs practice more medicine than nursing. A good NP can be someone who worked 20 years as an RN or someone who worked 6 months as an RN.
    The above statements are not accurate. We wont ever agree on this so I will end my part in this conversation here:

    The fact that NPs have more medical responsibilities is not what RNs are resistant to. NPs were created to do more medicine ALONG WITH Nursing - especially for those areas of the country where there were physician shortages & lack of healthcare.

    The field was established to be a combination of NURSING as well as medicine. Its supposed to be about taking care of people - not just writing prescriptions. The RNs role is not completely different from the NPs role. The NP is supposed to be an RN too & in that regard they are the same. The NPs role is merely expanded beyond the RN role but it still is to encompass the RN role. Which, if you dont know this, leads me to wonder just what you think an "RN role" is anyway????

    Maybe you have a misconception about RNs but as a non-nurse I can see why you might. It seems that whenever you refer to the "RN", you are thinking of those RNs who work in hospitals & also I might add, you seem to be looking down on them. What I am talking about is all RNs in all settings - not just hospitals.

    RNs are not "resistant" to the field of Nurse Practicioner. But NPs are expected to BE NURSES - first & foremost - with advanced training, and know how to take care of people - not be MDs & not just write precriptions.
    An NP is a nurse - not a doctor.

    If you have never taken care of people in any setting as an RN, I dont know how you can be an NP and function as a NURSE with advanced training. FYI, all RNs are required to know pharmacology - side effects, compatibilities, efficacy, dosages, routes, etc. Im sure its easy to write prescriptions but that is not what Im talking about.

    RNs object to non-nurses becoming NPs (which are nurse specialists) & never having touched a pt, cared for a pt, or seen the subtle signs of early symptoms of anything. Just as I believe the head of the Police Dept Forensics Squad who has never been a cop is going to be lacking in the job, I believe an NP who has never worked as an RN or only worked as an RN for a short time is not going to be as "good" an NP as an RN with 20 yrs experience providing hands-on care to pts and their families.

    Its simple logic. Experience in the field counts & you cannot be a specialist in your field without it. Now you may say "but I am an NP & nursing is not my field"... but THATS where you are wrong.

    I think the problem is that non-nurse NPs have a very different view of what NPs are /should be than the real nurses do - how NPs were created to be in the first place. RNs expect NPs to be REGISTERED NURSES with advanced training - as it was intended. Non-nurse NPs expect to be MDs without going to medical school. And non-nurse NPs are the only ones who do not see a difference between NPs & PAs.

    2 BSN bridge participants in my school, who never worked a day as an RN or anything else and who will be graduating NPs in May just went to a womans health NP in the area & asked if she would take them on to get in their required # of pelvic exams. These perpetual students are GRADUATING in May & have NEVER done a pelvic exam or even touched a pt outside of their clinicals. Yet they will be expected to function as NURSES with ADVANCED training & function independently. This is "quality care"? These NPs are going to be "just as good" as an RN woth experience? No they are not.

    Also, I know someone who had an MBA & was bored with her job. Read an article in Crane's Business Weekly on up-&-coming fields to work in & from that article decided to be an NP. She bridged & was an NP in 2 yrs. What does she know about taking care of people? Even medical interns provide more pt care in training than this "nurse expert"

    THIS is what RNs object to. Do not insult them by saying that this caliber of NP is "just as good" as they & their RN experience means nothing.
    I completely disagree with this kind of program & think they should be banned. Pt care experience of a certain number of years should be required before being allowed into the program.