Please help w/ path?

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I currently have enough credits to graduate w/ a degree in what would have been English/Special Education, currently getting student loans, yet still struggling w/ money just to live in NJ. I am 28 and have $30k hanging over my head in student loan debt.

- graduating would cut off student aid? How would I pay for an aBSN? How would I pay for a DIrect NP if I could get into one?

- I am willing to relocate and serve underserved populations in the future.

- I have a 3.8 gpa, but no patient exp. other than teaching yoga to people w/ disabilities and health issues, and I used to hospice volunteer. I liked doing that, but I needed to work more and get paid.

- My community college charges 500/credit hour in the nursing program (RN) now so the aBSN is really not that different in price.

- My options are:

1. Transferring to a college w/ a BSN program and taking 3 more years.

2. Finishing my prereqs while I still get the Pell grants and going to an aBSN program.

3. Moving somewhere cheaper (and probably nicer) and getting my RN. Praying I can get into being a Psych RN (I know my personality type). Then going to more school.

4. Going to a direct PMHNP program if I can get in and taking out huge loans but being willing to do whatever with moving because it's the job I really want to be doing.

- My dream is to be a Psych NP. I was going to go into counseling, but to be honest, I do not always find talk therapy to be the best and I do not want to be poor for the rest of my life/any longer. I also think I could do much more in this field and have spent a lifetime being an unpaid counselor, unpaid addictions counselor, and general wellness cheerleader for a lot of people. I love it. But now I want to get paid for what I love, and well!

I have a few questions for Psych NPs out also:

*Do you feel like you are able to practice holistically ever?

*Is setting up your own practice a viable reality?

*Are you able to order checks for other medical problems like hypothyroid and food allergies? (Celiac masqueraded as depression for a lot of my life) Nutritional deficiencies?

*Anyone else done a Psych NP direct route? Advice? Advice for getting in? Do I need to become a CNA or HHA? I've done hospice volunteerwork before. I could def see myself working in one of those.

*I know I want to work with children so I assume I should become a Family PMHNP?

*What if you want to become an FNP down the road?

chillnurse, BSN, RN, NP

1 Article; 208 Posts

Specializes in Internal medicine/critical care/FP. Has 6 years experience.

try to do things one thing at at a time. I would probably go to a direct BSN program and then jump into a classroom fnp or mental health program. i would avoid totally online programs like the plague. if you want to do a variety of things, get your fnp, then maybe get a post masters in mental health? but i would start with fnp, easier to get a job and it has the broadest scope by far.

^Chillnurse is wrong on many fronts, so don't take that advice.

First, I would transfer to the BSN program. Then you could at least get student loans/scholarships to cover the cost. If you got to an ABSN program, they cost like 60-70K and you are not eligible for ANY financial aid. Furthermore, you have to already have a Bachelor's in something else to go to an ABSN program.

Second, you do not need to avoid online only program, just FOR PROFIT programs. Big difference. Many reputable programs are online, such as Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, etc.

Lastly, it is absolutely NOT TRUE that FNP has an easier time getting a job than a PMHNP. That is VERY bad advice. PMHNPs are the most heavily recruited and highest paid of all NPs. PMHNPs get multiple recruiters/head hunters coming after them weekly, and every PMHNP program director I have spoken to has said that all of the students have jobs before graduation. Reason is mental health is very unpopular and even though starting salary is higher and jobs easier to get, most nurses don't pursue it. If you actually LIKE mental health, 100% do PMHNP! It's easier to get into a PMHNP program vs FNP as well.

I recommend transferring to BSN, and applying to PMHNP programs as you near graduation from your BSN program so you can go right into it and save time.

Also to answer some of your other questions:

1. I know many PMHNPs with their own practice. It's the easiest type to set up as there is very little overhead. You'd have to live in an independent practice state though, otherwise you'd have to find (and likely pay) a physician for "collaboration."

2. As I said before, PMHNP programs are the easiest to get into due to lack of interest, and easiest to get a job after school. I've known schools to discontinue their PMHNP program because they don't have enough students while the FNP program at the same school is getting 1000 applicants for 60 spots.

3. There is now ONLY the Family PMHNP. They no longer separate adult and child mental health NPs.

4. Later if you want to be an FNP you can do a post-master's certificate in family NP, which is usually about a year.

OCRN3

388 Posts

Specializes in Med/surg, Tele, educator, FNP. Has 16 years experience.

I agree with chill nurse, FNP is the broadest scope. I did the ACNP and had difficulty working with children. I also agree that online schools take a lot more work than your regular type of school, so the question is why make It harder on yourself? I for one am a more hands on type of person and could not just sit back and watch videos on how to do an assessment, I need the instructor telling me how to do things correctly while actually doing it. A good example of that is percussion of lungs, do you know how hard it is to tell the difference between the difference in sounds? I had to have the instructor percuss with me while she told me what to listen for. Anyway, that's my option on an advanced health assessment class, but some classes could be done online.

Anyway just my 2 cents..

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,231 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Moved to pre-NP forum

chillnurse, BSN, RN, NP

1 Article; 208 Posts

Specializes in Internal medicine/critical care/FP. Has 6 years experience.

good posts by everyone in here. as long as you do something you can see yourself doing for a long period you will be okay. i know this is far from ground breaking information but i often need to remind myself this!

spaceinthesky

19 Posts

Thank you all for your responses - it really helps to have this support. :)

I wish my college *had* a BSN program -- they only have RN-BSN. But I'm still doing the prereqs/basic classes I'd need for aBSN or a transfer school, so I have some time.

Thanks again! And yes, I see all the PHMNP job listings. It inspires me.

mzaur

377 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health.

I just recently was accepted to several direct entry PMHNP programs, so I am familiar with the process. I would be happy to chat with you and answer any questions about what you need to do to prepare. Click on my profile and add me on Facebook if you want to talk.

Riburn3, BSN, MSN, APRN, NP

3 Articles; 554 Posts

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 16 years experience.
^Chillnurse is wrong on many fronts, so don't take that advice.

First, I would transfer to the BSN program. Then you could at least get student loans/scholarships to cover the cost. If you got to an ABSN program, they cost like 60-70K and you are not eligible for ANY financial aid. Furthermore, you have to already have a Bachelor's in something else to go to an ABSN program.

Second, you do not need to avoid online only program, just FOR PROFIT programs. Big difference. Many reputable programs are online, such as Duke, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, etc.

Lastly, it is absolutely NOT TRUE that FNP has an easier time getting a job than a PMHNP. That is VERY bad advice. PMHNPs are the most heavily recruited and highest paid of all NPs. PMHNPs get multiple recruiters/head hunters coming after them weekly, and every PMHNP program director I have spoken to has said that all of the students have jobs before graduation. Reason is mental health is very unpopular and even though starting salary is higher and jobs easier to get, most nurses don't pursue it. If you actually LIKE mental health, 100% do PMHNP! It's easier to get into a PMHNP program vs FNP as well.

I recommend transferring to BSN, and applying to PMHNP programs as you near graduation from your BSN program so you can go right into it and save time.

I'm curious where you got you NP degree and where you get you information about recruiting and salaries. One thing we learn in grad school is that if you make a statement as bold as yours, you need a citation. Saying you know many PMHNP's doesn't really cut it. You seem to be an expert on the NP job market nationwide, yet as far as I can tell, you aren't an NP or even in NP school.

Also, telling someone they are wrong and discounting their advise is extremely rude. This is an internet message board and everyone is entitled to their opinion. As we can see, nurses from all over the country have taken a plethora of routes to achieve their career goals. While some paths might be better, there's not really a wrong way to go about it so long as you reach your goal in the end.

myelin

695 Posts

Yeah, I've been seeing several people on this site recommend getting FNP over PMHNP lately because it is supposedly easier to get a job as an FNP... I do not know where people are getting their information. PMHNPs are in extremely high demand. FNPs are in demand as well in some places, but the PMHNP market is very hot and pays very well.

If your passion is psych, then obviously go for it. It makes no sense to do FNP first (I'm not sure why people would recommend it when you have made it clear that you want psych. You will not practice psych as an FNP. You might dabble in it a bit with some simple cases, but that is not the role you train for and the psych aspect of FNP training is quite minimal). If you want to do FNP later on, then that option is available. Looking in people's ears is gross anyway (okay maybe that my own personal bias...) Anyway, yeah, go into psych if you want it. I was talking to some recent NP grads and when I told them my specialty they basically said "Lucky you. All the jobs are for psych!"

spaceinthesky

19 Posts

Thanks so much! Will be in touch.