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Second career...opinions on path

Hi all,

I am new to the forum, though I have used this site quite a lot in the passed couple of months.

As you may have guessed, I am interested in pursing a new career in nursing. I am feeling overwhelmed by the number of options and programs that seem to be available.

I have been weighting the following options for myself:

1. Physician Assistant

2. Direct Entry to Practice (combined ABSN/MSN) to FNP, Acute or Nurse Anesthetist

3. ABSN, work for a period of time and then enter a graduate program.

Some relevant details:

1. I have a PhD in Biology

2. I am in the process of taking the prerequisite courses that I never took (e.g. A&P, Development Psychology).

3. I am quite certain that I want to eventually practice as a mid-level provider.

4. Ideal start time for my program would be Fall 2015 or Winter 2016.

I realize there is no right or wrong answer to my inquiry. I'm really looking for feedback from other students and professionals, maybe even some who have been in a similar situation, as to the pros and cons of certain paths.

Many thanks!

iPink, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Postpartum.

Hello and welcome to AN! I'm a career changer as well. I'm happy with my decision to change.

You have to narrow your choice by deciding what you want to do. For example, my school path was based on what I wanted in the short and long term. I didn't want to spend a lot of years in college (again) just to start working. But I also wanted to make sure my degree choice would get me a job. So in my area I researched hire-ability for ADNs vs BSNs. Every state is different. I looked at costs for ABSNs and community colleges that offered accelerated ASNs and program lengths. Do I need to work while in school, or could I survive and continue to pay my bills while in school? Those are a few things you'll answer on your own.

I chose not to bother looking at any programs that offered a MSN route because IMO I don't feel comfortable "Mastering" in a profession I never worked in.

I believe PA school is six years (correct me if I'm wrong). That wasn't the sole reason why I didn't choose that path, it was the autonomy. As you are aware healthcare is changing and in a few states, Nurse Practitioners are recognized as primary health providers and are not practicing under an MD. PAs still work under the guidance of an MD.

I believe getting a degree first and then working in the field can give you a prospective you never had before. Nursing isn't easy, but it is rewarding. I had students in my class who had Masters in Psychology and decided to combine the two and are now Psych RNs. A former coworker who also was a career changer transferred into the research department and is now a Nurse Researcher. There are many options to this diverse field.

Hope I helped somewhat. Also if you do a search on the site, you'll find useful topics discussing this same topic.

Sent from iPink's phone via allnurses app

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

I would recommend obtaining your BSN first. This will prepare you as a generalist & provide insight into various clinical specialties. Graduate clinical education (MSN/NP) will be focused on a specialty so you need to know which one to choose prior to making that commitment.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

If you do an ELM understand that you will more than likely be a bedside nurse and won't be considered an APRN. That takes a few years of bedside experience usually eventually getting into critical care. Your best bet is to get your BSN and go from there.

Thank you all for the replies. I certainly understand your advice to obtain the BSN and work before embarking on an MSN. I really do believe that I want to practice as a midlevel, but can see the benefit in not biting off the accelerated program right off the bat.


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