graduate school


Hi all,

I am going to be entering my senior year of a BSN program in Massachusetts. I am looking into graduate schools right now. I am looking for some advice on what type of degree to pursue and/or which path to take. My interests are working in a NICU, labor/delivery or the ED. I am looking for a degree that would be the most flexible as far as switching between specialties. I have been leaning toward DNP programs, taking the FNP route. Is this a degree that would allow me to work in any of the above mentioned specialties? Can FNP's work in hospitals or is it more outpatient based? I have heard mixed things and am very confused.


1,871 Posts

Outpatient mostly, if you want to work inpatient go for ACNP

NICU will be a neonatal NP

CNM for labor

ED ideally is FNP or dual FNP/ACNP

Most flexible is FNP but you can't have it all. NICU one day then ED the next isn't real life. You need to narrow your interests down.


14,633 Posts

I really encourage you to get licensed and work for a few years before rushing into grad school. Graduate degrees in nursing pretty much lock you into a specific professional role and career path, and it is difficult to change paths without returning to school. I've known a number of people (and I'm quite sure that the few people I've known personally aren't the only people in this situation) who either entered nursing via a direct-entry MSN program, or rushed into graduate school, only to find after they completed a graduate degree in nursing that they didn't enjoy doing what the degree prepared them to do. Then they were stuck with a degree and professional role that they don't want, and the loans to pay for them, and they're trying to figure out what career path they do want and what additional degree they need to get there.

Any graduate degree in nursing is going to cost you a lot of time, effort, and $$$. I really encourage you to put in the time and effort up front to be sure that you're pursuing something you are going to happy with, and that is going to get you where you want to be.

Best wishes for your journey!

Specializes in NICU, telemetry. Has 7 years experience.

Graduate first and get your feet wet in the nursing world! You'll know better after some time spent where you want to specialize, and also have some benefits you can only learn through nursing experience under your belt.