Jump to content

Not sure if I should get an NP or a MHA

Posted

Hello all,

I graduated with a BS in Neuroscience in 2016 and have been working in the biotech industry. My career is a bit boring and low-paying so I am considering working to get an accelerated BSN and become an NP after a graduate program or getting my Master's In Healthcare Administration (MHA).

I have already applied to one accelerated BSN program. My question is, would it be advantageous to get my BSN if I want to get my MHA later on? Would having my BSN increase my earning potential if I became involved in healthcare administration?

I appreciate anyone sharing any information. I am thinking about becoming a Nurse Practitioner or a Healthcare administrator and am trying to decide.

Thank you, 

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

I got my RN in 1982, two-year degree. I already had a 4-year degree in another field, so put off advancing my nursing education for 15 years. At that point, when I went looking for BSN programs, it became apparent that a BSN would not make me a better nurse, and I would be wasting time and money just to "fill a square". I got a BBA in Health Care Administration and a MBA in Health Care Management, and have never regretted it. Health Care is big business, and the more you know about the "big picture" the more marketable you are. The market is over-saturated with NPs in many areas, some are having trouble finding jobs. I would go for the MHA.

Closed Account 12345

Has 14 years experience.

They are two completely different career paths.  Are you interested in a clinical career where you are actively involved with patient care, or are you interested in the administrative/business side of healthcare?  

I would only pursue a nursing degree if you'd like to clinically practice as a nurse.  Keep in mind that the most competent nurse practitioners have years of experience as registered nurses.  Are you willing to work as an RN for a few years to develop your nursing assessment, clinical, critical thinking, patho/pharm, time management, communication, documentation, prioritization, and patient interaction skills?  If not, I would discourage you from going the nursing/NP route. 

If you just like the business side of things, I would suggest going directly for the MHA without a pit stop for your BSN.

Whatever you decide, good luck!

Thank you both for your responses. As an undergrad, I was very good at my biology and Chemistry classes. In particular, I loved organic Chemistry and found it was very easy for me. With that said, I’d like to use that knowledge and skill set in my career because I’m good at it. I thought becoming an NP would satisfy that, but I am thinking less and less that would be the case. Is organic chem something that I’d see as an NP or RN? I am thinking that I’d get burned out from dealing with patients so I’m thinking more and more about the MHA. I appreciate the responses so far.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

I mean....I just took a trauma class and we talked about the TCA cycle and cells turning to anaerobic metabolism and the positive feedback loop that creates with the trauma triad of death. But in direct patient care on a day to day basis the heavy thinking that I do is more along the lines of prioritizing tasks.

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 49 years experience.

1 hour ago, HiddenShadow20 said:

Thank you both for your responses. As an undergrad, I was very good at my biology and Chemistry classes. In particular, I loved organic Chemistry and found it was very easy for me. With that said, I’d like to use that knowledge and skill set in my career because I’m good at it. I thought becoming an NP would satisfy that, but I am thinking less and less that would be the case. Is organic chem something that I’d see as an NP or RN? I am thinking that I’d get burned out from dealing with patients so I’m thinking more and more about the MHA. I appreciate the responses so far.

The amount of O chem  a nurse needs to know is minimal - very minimal.  What we would need to know is the kind of thing you pick up on the job.  It's nice to KNOW why certain drugs can or cannot cross the blood-brain barrier but you can function just fine knowing that they don't or they do.  Basic question:  Do you want a desk job or a patient contact job?  With your background, I'd consider pharmacology.  When I took organic I didn't see how relevant computers would become to make obsolete the difficulty of identifying compounds and thought I could never get through a pharmacy program but, of course, it's all different now.  

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 6 years experience.

You can't compare the two.

Do you want to work in business or with patients? Only you can decide for yourself.

Hi Katie82,

I am aware that nationally there is a big shortage of nurse practitioners. In what areas is it over saturated? That seems odd because the market of NPs is set to expand by like 45% by 2029 according to the BLS. If you could provide some additional information in regards to your statement that NPs are over saturated in many areas I’d really appreciate it.

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 49 years experience.

Just do a search in the advanced practice section here on AN.  You will find that some NP's are having a tough time in desirable areas and that others are making less than an RN.  When any RN can become an NP online, you know that the supply chain is filling fast.

Holy cow, I really appreciate the response, subee. I will consider what you said in my career planning.

HiddencatBSN, BSN

Specializes in Peds ED. Has 10 years experience.

5 hours ago, HiddenShadow20 said:

Holy cow, I really appreciate the response, subee. I will consider what you said in my career planning.

The BLS statistics don’t show a complete picture- they always show growth in RN demand but in some markets it’s very challenging to find new grad jobs. I graduated at the tail end of the recession in Philly and between tons of nursing schools in the area and hospitals wanting experienced nurses, I applied to hundreds of jobs and had 2 interviews and 1 job offer. The folks who graduated in that area 1-2 years ahead of me had many new grads looking for jobs for over a year. As an experienced RN I’ve never had a problem finding a job. New grads in other regions had no problems during the same period of time.

With nurse practitioners, certain specialties are definitely saturated and the NPs I’ve spoken to where I’ve worked have mentioned that they made more as RNs with shift differential and overtime opportunities. PNP and FNP seem to be more saturated depending on the market, but my area has a pretty big demand for mental health NPs. My hospital uses PAs as midlevels more than NPs as well.

I’d look at your local market or where you plan to work, see what the job postings look like. Scan hospitals to get a sense of who they currently have on staff. There’s a huge need for primary care in rural areas but part of that is urban concentration of care and you might find that what is needed in rural areas is primary care practitioners to set up their own practices.  Some states allow NPs to practice independently but as a new NP having the guidance of experienced providers is very important. 

 

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 29 years experience.

On 9/26/2020 at 7:14 PM, HiddenShadow20 said:

Hello all,

I graduated with a BS in Neuroscience in 2016 and have been working in the biotech industry. My career is a bit boring and low-paying so I am considering working to get an accelerated BSN and become an NP after a graduate program or getting my Master's In Healthcare Administration (MHA).

I have already applied to one accelerated BSN program. My question is, would it be advantageous to get my BSN if I want to get my MHA later on? Would having my BSN increase my earning potential if I became involved in healthcare administration?

I appreciate anyone sharing any information. I am thinking about becoming a Nurse Practitioner or a Healthcare administrator and am trying to decide.

Thank you, 

With your background, you can consider PA.  I am a Nurse Practitioner but I was a staff RN in the hospital setting before going back for grad school so that was more of a natural progression in my career.  If your goal is to work in a provider role, you get there the shortest with the PA route which would bypass the part where you obtain another undergrad degree by going straight to the PA program.  PA's have some advantages, one being their generalist training compared to NP's who must pick a specialty as part of their NP "track" which can limit your employment options once you graduate.  All PA programs require a set number of hours of exposure to the healthcare fields which you can acquire by either volunteering or working as a tech or scribe.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

I know here in SF Bay Area I make more than my primary care NP friends as a hospital RN. Our area is saturated, hard to get new grad jobs, pay is low unless you get a coveted specialist NP job. Many hospitals here don't utilize NPs so most jobs are outpatient. My friends who had other degrees and went straight to NP without any RN experience struggled.

One of my friends who works in a community health center for low income patients, many with complex medical/psychosocial needs, said she felt overwhelmed for the first 5 years. She felt she was expected to do the job of an MD with only 2 years of school/training compared to their 7+ years. This may not be everyone's experience though. I know there are areas where it's easy to get a job, and maybe the pay is better because demand is higher. But if you fear being burned out by patient contact, really think about that. For NPs the contact is often not over after you're done seeing patients. There are patient messages, forms to fill out, phone calls to be made, etc. Many patients have difficult situations that may stick with you long after the visit. I admire all you NPs out there, it looks like a hard job!

juan de la cruz, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care, General Cardiology. Has 29 years experience.

On 9/26/2020 at 7:14 PM, HiddenShadow20 said:

My question is, would it be advantageous to get my BSN if I want to get my MHA later on? Would having my BSN increase my earning potential if I became involved in healthcare administration?

Personally, I would say no.  There are two main types of MHA programs...the traditional MHA and the executive MHA.  Traditional MHA's admit students with a variety of undergrad degrees who are interested in healthcare administration...it's typically full time study with an internship in a healthcare setting towards the end and maybe a slot as a fellow in a hospital or similar organization involved in healthcare.  You are groomed to be an administrator over time and will end up getting a junior level administrator role. You must pick a good school for this.

The executive MHA's typically admit practicing healthcare professionals such as physicians and nurses who have been in the field for a while and who maybe already hold leadership positions but would like to add a business degree to solidify their role and allow them to advance higher in the ladder.  If you pick this route, you'd have to go for the BSN, get some bedside experience including being a charge nurse or assume leadership nursing roles, before you can even be seriously considered.  That's a long shot in my eyes.

I have never worked for any hospital or healthcare organization in which any administrator had a nursing background.  

Certainly there are nurse executives, but they go the traditional nursing route of floor nursing, management and then up to the executive level.  The ones I have known had MSNs.