I am interested in specializing in mental health. So naturally I because I only get 1 semester of psychiatric nursing in my BSN program and intro to psych for a GE requirement, I looked to pursuing my goals by going to grad school immediately, while working in med - surg after I graduate next year. I am really surprised though at the curriculum of many bsn-dnp programs because you can specialize in mental health, but the lectures are more about research, theory, ..and for example USF (university of South fl) or Maryville university, don't have ANY lectures with focus on the speciality, but you are required to have so many clinical hours for that specialty. Those two schools do not require any RN clinical experience before applying (neither does Duke uni, but they don't have a mental health specialty, and I'm sure there's more universities like that )Well my point is that I wanted to discuss with people with experience is how is that possible? I have actually thought about going for a PA instead, because in the PA ciricculum the emphasis IS on patho, disease tx, etc..isn't that what DNP focus should be on too?? Did I miss the boat in understanding that the DNP is to specialize in an area and have certain autonomy, or under a physician, for diagnosing and treatment? But how with no lecture background in your speciality? I was preparing to apply to BSN-DNP programs in August. This summer I'll be a nurse extern in medsurg and I'm going to try and make arrangements to shadow a PMHNP. Although I'm considering scrambling in my last year of school to fullfill the requirements for PA school.And if the answer is "work as a nurse for 5 years first then do bsn-dnp" and that's why the ciricculum is how it is, then definately I will go to PA school because why? I'm 21, I know what I want and want to make my future.Edit sorry for the incorrect spellings that my phone "autocorrected"