Here is a response from direct-entry masters:
"I am actually one of those people who is enrolled in a direct entry program NP program (MSN), set to graduate in May 2021. The reason why I applied, is because I wanted to become a provider, either PA or NP. I admit that I should have done more research into the two paths. Without knowing better, I went into a direct entry NP program. I was 29 at the time and wanted to just move on with my life. I was afraid that if I became an RN and started a family that I would get busy and wouldn't have time to apply to an NP program later on. Obviously, there are many nurses out there with families who go back to school so my thinking was flawed.
If I had to do it all over again, I would either 1) Do an accelerated BSN, work a few years as an RN, and then go for my DNP to become a nurse practitioner or 2) go to PA school.
When I was going through my clinical rotations pre-RN license, I would get comments from nurses that I shouldn't have been doing a direct entry NP program. I understand where they're coming from, but it also made me really anxious going into clinical. I already had a feeling that they didn't like me for that very reason. Eventually, I told myself to get the *** over it, became more proactive, and did well in my ICU preceptorship at the end. I passed my NCLEX on the first try and got my RN license. The pre-licensure portion was 1.5 years, the master's portion is another 2 years. I started the masters' portion the following semester (we don't get a long Summer break). I found an RN job and also started volunteering at a primary care clinic as an RN.
The program is accelerated, but I have been doing well. I currently have a 3.90 GPA (from pre-licensure up until now in my masters portion). The academic part isn't that difficult...also, if I had a BA in Dance and managed to do well, I'm pretty sure a lot of people can do well in nursing school. However, I do recognize that doing well in class and exams is nothing compared to real life.
As you may have seen, many nurses recommend getting at least a few years of RN experience before becoming a nurse practitioner. I have met an NP practicing for 3 years at a primary care clinic (graduated from the same program I did), and she was still struggling. There is a huge learning curve for new NP's, which is why that RN experience can be helpful.
So aside from the fact that everyone is saying you should work as an RN for a few years first, the other reason why I wish I did things differently is that my school told us that they would find preceptors for us. However, there are several of us who do not have a placement. We were asked to do our own outreach. Preceptors are hard to find to begin with, and now with the pandemic, they're even harder to find. The school said they may try to get us into telemedicine for our clinical hours. This may just be a problem with my specific school though. I have heard of another program in the area that secured placement for all of their students. It just adds to my frustration (and regret) that I did this program.
So what am I going to do about this situation I got myself into?
Well, I currently work as an RN, though not in a setting I prefer. I plan to work as an RN for a few years before I apply for NP positions. Basically, when I graduate as an NP, my degree might just sit there for another year or so. Also, there are a few NP residency programs out there that I am considering after I get my degree. I figure that is the best I can do to kind fix this less-than-ideal situation. I do not plan on doing acute care NP. I plan on working in primary care. Although a part of me is interested in working in outpatient surgery, which is why I'm starting to regret not going to PA school instead.
I hope this long post was useful to you...coming from someone who is actually in a direct entry program and wish she did things differently."