MGH-IHP Direct Entry Program: Pros/cons? Current/graduated students please respond!


As you can see, I'm trying to choose nursing schools.

anyone currently enrolled in MGH-IHP or any graduates, what do you think of the program? What are its pros and cons?

In general, I've heard good things about the program, but I've also heard that the teachings tend to be very "MGH-centered" as in they teach you that the MGH-way is the only way to do things, is this true? and if so, is that bad?

Do you think that this program prepares you to be a nurse at other hospitals other than MGH?

Does anyone know the ratio of student: professor for the pre-RN internship and the post-RN-specialty (Master's part) internship?

On another note, Does anyone know if MGH have a palliative care subspecialty?

Does the fact that MGH doesn't really have a "campus" affect the "school" feel of the program? Do you ever feel at a disadvantage because there's no real study center/library? Or is there one? Clearly, I don't know much about this program, please share!

Any input on what you love or hate or other comments of the program would be most helpful! Thank you!


23 Posts

I'd be really interested to hear answers too as I am planning on applying for the DEMSN Fall 09 entry this fall.

Doesn't appear that the MGH IHP currently has palliative care speciality (

I applied to and the MGH IHP, was accepted to both, and sent my enrollment deposit in to the MGH IHP last week. One of my mentors in Boston is a recent alumna of the program, and one of my good friends from college will be finishing her first year this spring. I've heard a lot of wonderful things and I'm confident I made the right decision for me. However--I'm probably not the best to give advice quite yet, since I haven't actually, you know, gone to the school ; ).


14 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics.

Thank you so much for your reply. I'm curious, what were some of the "wonderful things" you heard about the program and ultimately, why did you decide to go to the program?

Thank you so much!

Please bear in mind that these are just my thoughts about what fits for me and my interpretations of what others have said about the program...I'm not sure how useful this will be, but I'm happy to share my decision process with you.

For me, MGH was always the top choice. I worked as a research coordinator at a cancer facility in Boston for several years, beginning immediately after graduating from college, and one of the NPs I worked with there (my mentor, as I referenced) was not only a graduate (2006, I think) of the program, but also a graduate of my undergrad institution, which was an absolutely wonderful small liberal arts school built on a strong, supportive community and fairly grueling academics. She often spoke about the MGH IHP direct entry program with the reverence that we reserved for our undergrad institution and mentioned how rigorous her training was and how prepared she felt to practice after the program ended. For reference, we worked with patients with a fairly serious diagnosis with poor prognosis. It was intense, to say the least. I think she felt her clinicals served her well. Several other of the NPs I knew at this facility, though not in our practice, were also graduates of the direct entry program at the MGH IHP. This sounds extremely sheltered...but before I decided officially that I wanted to become an NP and started the research and application process, I didn't even know that other direct entry programs existed in Boston. All the NPs and MDs I worked and interacted with just seemed so pleased with the quality of alumni from the program and only had positive things to say...and I worked with some absolutely world-class care providers.

After I started the research process, I developed more opinions of my own: I liked that it was one of the oldest direct-entry programs in the country. I liked the name recognition. I liked that it was affiliated with the Partners network, which I had worked out as a research coordinator (I moved from Boston last summer to be closer to family, and will be moving back for school). I went to visit in November, and I liked the students and faculty members I met, and the course material seemed relevant and was presented in an interesting way. It felt far better organized administratively than (no one at Simmons got back to me about coming to visit the campus until after my trip to Boston had their defense, I only emailed about a week ahead of time, but I tried to contact the school several ways, and it just didn't leave me with the best impression). I liked that I was able to dual specialize, which wasn't an option at Simmons. I had eliminated BC early on because of how short the program is, which didn't seem to be a good fit for me.

So, it seemed like a foregone conclusion...then, a little while before decision letters were sent (and after I had gotten in to Simmons), I had a minor freak-out that I didn't think this through enough and didn't really know what I wanted. I emailed my good friend from college, who started the program last fall, because I knew I could trust her for an honest and fair interpretation. She wrote back, "I absolutely love the program. I love my classmates. I love my professors. I love my clinical instructors." She mentioned that she most loved the MGH IHP and Partners connection, and that it meant great guest lecturers and instructors in classes and that all the med-surg clinicals were at MGH. She told me that her classmates were intelligent, but noncompetitive, and that her professors, most of whom still practice as NPs (which she felt greatly impacted the quality and relevancy of their lessons), are compassionate and understanding. She related an anecdote from her first day of class, that one of the professors said, when all the students were absolutely nervous out of their gourds, "This isn't a school where we tell you to look right and left, because someone next to you won't be here next year. You made it, we want you to stay, and we want to help you in any way to do so." My pal let me know that she had definitely seen that sentiment in practice, where professors have reached out to students who are struggling. She also commented that she felt so prepared to give medications and injections for the first time.

Well, what she told me pretty much sealed the deal. I loved what I heard from her, it seemed like a good fit for me, and, thankfully, I got in =). I'm happy with my choice and I hope to remain so over the course of my education and my lifetime. I think it's all down to the individual, though: what matters most to you and fits best with your background and your interests and your goals. I definitely would advise visiting the schools in the fall (and, unlike me, giving the schools plenty of warning to prepare for your visit), as the campus visit can be crucial to figure out what resources are available, how happy the students are, the quality of instruction, and all sorts of nitty-gritty details.

All that said (and I know it's a LOT...sorry, hemicoffee, and I hope it's not completely useless babble), I'd totally dig hearing from other alumni in or current students of the MGH IHP program. What did you like? What didn't you? From scouting around on here, I've gotten the impression that the RN portion of the program is really where it shines. Do you feel that's accurate? Why or why not? Are you happy you chose this program, and not one of the others in the area?


1 Post


I hope that comments will be helpful, and keep in mind it's only one person's experience/perceptions. I'm graduating from the MGH IHP nursing program in May.

Overall, I feel that my experience at the IHP has been good. But I feel that I should give you some nuts and bolts of the IHP program, that, for all I know, may endemic to all direct-entry programs.

1. It's going to be intense, both emotionally and academically--especially the first year. Nothing really can prepare you for the intensity. Just know that you will get through it. The intensity is d/t the sheer amount of information that you will be learning as well as the clinical situations which you will be facing: medically fragile patients, homeless patients, psychiatric patients.

2. Although the IHP is part of Partners, it is partner of Partners only in name as far as I can tell. It does not mean that the IHP gets priority in terms of clinical locations/preceptors.

3. There are some very good teachers and classes at the IHP and some classes that seem like a sheer waste of time. Which is more the pity because I feel that there was some training that I had to go elsewhere to get such as psychotherapy (I am in the psych track).

4. The clinical placement process for NP training is hit or miss. That is, some people get great NP placement sites while others do not get placed in training sites until 6wks into the semester. And then they may turn out to be terrible. Unfortunately, unlike other professional programs (like getting a doctorate in psychology), there is no standardization of clinical sites. Meaning, preceptors are not paid or trained to be mentors/teachers. They are not even interviewed as far as I can tell until the student is placed at the clinical site. Take me for instance. Poor clinical placement last year during which my preceptor didn't know what I should be learning and didn't have the time of day. Then midway through the semester, I was switched to somewhere else where I had a positive experience. This year I am having a fabulous experience. The lack of oversight for NP clinical experience is the major weakness of the IHP program in my opinion which could be remedied rather easily over time, but it seems that nothing has been done as yet.

4. requires more clinical experience before taking the RN exam, meaning that as a Simmons student you may have more practical nursing experience (like starting IVs or giving shots).

Hope this helpful. It's not meant to talk anyone out of the IHP but give a more balanced perspective. Feel free to ask me any questions!:bugeyes:

Wow I'm glad I found this forum. I am looking to apply to MGH for the Direct-Entry program but I'm now wondering if I should apply to the Accelerated BSN program. I'm wondering if I can take a year off in between the Bachelor's and Master's just to get some RN experience. If that's not possible, I'm thinking maybe I should just apply go the BSN program, get experience, and then apply to master's programs.

I was all set to apply to the Direct-Entry program (application due in Jan) but I just started to think that the Accelerated BSN might be a better fit. The application deadline for the Accelerated BSN is Nov 1st so that is coming around the corner pretty quickly. I have everything good to go except I have to put finishing touches on my essay, but I should be able to make it all in time for Nov 1st if it seems like the right option.

Does anyone know the size of the entering Accelerated BSN class or the size of the entering Direct-Entry Master's program? I am very interested in a smaller program.



10 Posts

I'm a first year in the MGH IHP direct entry Master's program (which they call Entry Level Nursing). There are about 80 students and it's a very fine, energetic and cooperative group. I'm proud to be part of such a great class. For a class this size, we work well together and everyone is very supportive and, surprisingly, we mostly all know each other's names and backgrounds. It almost feels like a small class. I do not know anything, however, about the Accelerated BSN program.

Thanks Thomas for such a quick reply. Do you know how many people applied? I am very interested in MGH!

Do you know if students can take a year between the Entry Level Nursing and the Master's portion? I'm really attracted to Yale's program as well (80 ppl also), but students cannot take time in between and have to go straight through 3 years of school. I value the experience as an RN and hope that I can work as an RN before going on to the master's portion.

Are there any tips you would give to prospective students who are applying to MGH that you didn't know that you wish you knew when you were applying? Or are there things you didn't look for, that you wish you had? Or things that were not as apparent from going to Info sessions at MGH or looking on their website?

Thanks Thomas!


10 Posts

I believe that approximately 300 people applied, but that is not an official number and I'm not sure the veracity of that claim.

The entire 3-year program all the way to the Masters is called Entry Level Nursing (it's an unfortunate name, since it sounds like we're always just getting started). This includes 3 semesters of pre-RN work and 3 semesters of Master's study, with some overlap. Our classes often introduce common threads in our courses now that we will tie together in our advanced practice while carefully delineating what is RN and what is APRN.

Starting at the point we sit for our NCLEX (sometime in our fourth semester) there's strong incentive to work as an RN throughout the rest of the program, even if only part time during school hours.

While I don't know specifics, I know there are different ways that people can approach the schedule of the program and I believe that it is possible to arrange a gap between second and third year. That would be a good discussion to have with someone at the admissions office, since they can talk with you about your specific goals (i.e. what you want to accomplish in that year). Given the admissions office's schedule, it might be something that you'd want to ask about sooner (before they dive into major application seasons).

As for applying, the only thing I can think of is to be conscientious about gathering your application information, take your essay seriously - not as a Pulitzer candidate, but as an expression of yourself and what is important to you, and just as a kind of a general rule (true of jobs and schools), apply to several places since spaces are limited at all such programs these days.

Hi Thomas,

I posted on this thread months ago and I don't know that I ever realized you wrote me back! Thank you!

I actually did get into the Direct-Entry NP program and I am going to be visitng the school thiscoming weekend for Accepted Students Day.

How are you enjoying classes so far? I am curious to hear what specialty you are going for?

This topic is now closed to further replies.