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by adsanders1963 adsanders1963 (New) New

Should I pursue a career in nursing?

  1. 1. Should I pursue a career in nursing?

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23 members have participated

Hello all,

I am a 35 yo male who will be finishing his PhD in clinical psychology this year. I am thinking about going back to school to become a FNP or Psychiatric NP. During my clinical internship I had a lot of conversations with patients and psychiatrists about the lack of behavioral healthcare, especially in prescribing medicine. There are only a few states that allow for psychologists to prescribe and as of now I can't committ to living that far away from my parents due to them aging. I am also interested in working with the LGBT community at the basic medical but also psychiatric level. I have great skills in psychotherapy but I would like to be able to assist them further. With all this being said...

What are your thoughts about someone with a PhD re-entering into another healthcare field?

What challenges do you think I face?

Also, I have 2 bachelor's degrees (Biology and Psychology). I would have to start over with courses that would allow me to even apply to nursing school. What are your thoughts on getting my RN and then pursuing a BSN-MSN program?

Additionally, I have maxed out my loans so as for now I would have to either pay out of pocket or work to pay for school. Has anyone worked and gotten their ASN and then continued on in school while working?

I know I have a lot of questions but I have been contemplating this a lot lately.

Why do you say that? Due to the loans?

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 44 years experience.

I'm not going to give you nurse advice, I'm going to give you Mom advice. Get a job with the PhD. Use it before you decide to do something else. Start paying down your loans.

Just my opinion.

Jensmom7, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 36 years experience.

You can read this in Mom Voice, too:

I think you need to get out of Professional Student mode and get a job. Stop using your parents' age as an excuse.

At this rate, you're going to over degree yourself, and have nothing to show for it but an ass ton of student debt.


Has 25 years experience.

I'm not going to give you nurse advice, I'm going to give you Mom advice. Get a job with the PhD. Use it before you decide to do something else. Start paying down your loans.

Just my opinion.

Yes. Agree with MMJ.

You have multiple degrees and maxed out loans, and now you want to go back to school again?

You put a lot of time and effort into getting a PhD in psychology; why not use it, at least for a while, before embarking on an entirely different occupation?


Has 2 years experience.

PhD and still looking for a fit? Yikes- why waste your time???


Has 1 years experience.

I think you're right, there is a big need for behavioral health care. It seems silly that you would have to go into a nursing program after you've already gotten your PhD. I wonder if there is a better way to do it? Or maybe there is a different position that would work for you to practice BMS without being an NP.

direw0lf, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

Interesting way to go about being able to prescribe meds as a psychologist. You can look at accelerated bsn programs. But you could just tell your patients primary physician what meds you recommend?


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Welcome to allnurses.com

We merged your duplicate threads and moved your thread to the Pre-Nursing forum for the best response.

Don't go back to school for nursing. You'll be sorry that you did. You will be starting from the very bottom again, and you've come too far for that. Work for a couple of years and reassess.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

Why the focus on the ability to prescribe meds as a way to "help'? There are many, many ways a provider including a clinical psychologist can help their clientele that don't require the "just take this pill and it'll be better" model of practice.

Have you been in school constantly from childhood to high school to college twice to grad school?!?!?

Wow, that's a lot of education. The armchair psychologist in me wonders how long you are going to remain a professional student and if you are afraid of joining the working world. There is admittedly a certain amount of "safety" in the life of a student.

Whatever you decide, good luck.


Specializes in None yet..

My knee-jerk reaction to your question was "What is he trying to avoid?"

Those maxed out student loans would be occupying my attention.

Also, by the time you knock off your prerequisites (if not now), you are going to be the much older, out-of-sync member of your nursing school cohort. It would take a much stronger motivation than wanting to write prescriptions, I'm thinking, to put up with the challenges you will inevitably face as a student who does not fit into his cohort.

Check your motives. Really check them, then decide.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide to do.


Specializes in Gastroenterology, PACU.

I'm pretty much with everyone else when they say, "it's time to get an adult job, buddy." So instead of reiterating that, I'm going to give you my two cents as someone who worked a mental health nurse.

There are different types of units, but on all of the ones on which I've worked (in a mental health hospital, not in the cupcake world of 'easy' and stable inpatients in medical hospitals on a 20 bed mental health floor), patients have an interdisciplinary team. That team, depending on the unit, include RNs, therapists/psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers separate from the ones that might lead their 1 on 1 therapy.

The nurses (my role in all this) do daily assessments and quick 1 on 1s, pass meds, monitor safety continuously, enforce rules, and support the efforts of the rest of the team members when they are not there. Social workers talk about discharge planning, teaching, resources outside, etc. The psychiatrists, I kid you not, spend all of ten minutes every day coming in and talking to patients, readjusting their meds. That is literally all they do - readjust meds. There is no talk therapy involved with that. And our NPs and PAs did literally the same thing. There is too much of a patient load on them to have talk therapy and med adjustment every single day. For actual therapy, they have their therapists and three time a week, hour long, 1 on 1s.

That last thing - that is your role in this. You CANNOT and should not aspire to 'do it all.' The more you do, the less effective you are at it. Mental health should always be addressed in a multidisciplinary approach for inpatient populations, and I think you should get a reality check if you did not already know this.

Heck, even if you worked with outpatients as a psychologist (and here's a newsflash, psychiatrists have their MDs or DOs, went to med school, and did residencies to have that handy little prescription pad), you would still be doing a service. The majority of these outpatients are fine with a little SSRI, which they can get from their PCPs. And if you really DO want to throw away everything you've done so you can perpetually live in the state of studenthood, then why don't you instead team up with an MD in his/her practice? I see that all over the place. Don't you? Wouldn't that make more sense to you?

Edit: OH, and have you thought about how much you would miss if you continued on a different path? Do you think you are qualified and capable now? Because one of my favorite PhD psychologists with whom I worked, was just in the process of trying a new technique for not integrating the parts for patients with DID but actually making them all live together in harmony, and his therapy sessions (I sat in on a couple) were incredible. He constantly learned new things and tried them. That man is a genius. And if you think merely having a PhD puts you on that level, I'm going to laugh at you. It would take you a lifetime to achieve that level. So why not try for that instead of half-arsing several things?

Also, good to keep in mind that you need to practice at least two years as an RN to apply for NP school. With your track record, I wouldn't be surprised if during those two years you decided you did not work to work as an RN and instead decided that there was a real need in laboratory sciences and wanted to go back to school for microbiology.

Edited by Awesomocity0

There are many, many ways a provider including a clinical psychologist can help their clientele that don't require the "just take this pill and it'll be better" model of practice.

(Yes, there are, but they don't pay nearly as well as pushing pills. That's where the big bucks are, and why everyone and her/his mom suddenly wants to become a PMHNP.)

Thank you for your kind words. Everyone else was rude.