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Solicitation for Thoughts on Academia

PG2018 PG2018 (Member)

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

I'm a career changer who is now entering his third year of nursing. On top of that, I'm entering my third year of my MSN program. Yes, it's three years long! My focus is psych-MH nurse practitioner. I actually got through nursing school and graduated with the express purpose of becoming a PMHNP.

Having said that, every day I come to work, I want less and less direct involvement with patient care. I'm not sure if it's rapid burn out or the traditional nursing role is just not well suited for my own personal tastes and development, but I'm always searching for a "better" nursing job. That's not to say I follow up on them. I just like knowing what's out there. It's sad, but I don't even like being inside a hospital anymore.

I want to finish this program and enter psychiatric advanced practice. I'm looking forward to it, and I think it'll be interesting and rewarding. I never really thought doing med-surg kinds of activities would be interesting, and having that negative attitude I suppose caused med-surg stuff to be less than appealing to me. However, I'd like to explore other opportunities.

I've recently started thinking about getting a doctorate and not so I can call myself "Dr. PsychGuy." I'm not really a fan of the DNP as far as it being a promotional degree for nursing. I don't think the DNP in and of itself will ever cause APRNs, as an example, to become totally independent, etc. However, I find it more appealing than a PhD. On that note, I could get a DNP and do well at it. I always tend to do well academically, and I feel more drawn to the DNP coursework than the added research methodology and statistics of PhD programs.

Also, my first job out of college was teaching biology, chemistry, and anatomy/physiology. I only did it for a couple of years and at this point no longer even include it on my work history or resume, but other than trying to rein in 16 year olds I enjoyed it. I wouldn't go back to it, but it wasn't a bad job unless I've "forgotten the bad." At the time, I wanted to become a H.S. counselor but never followed through, yet I quit teaching and went on to do something vastly different for the next eight years.

On a final note, I know I could be assigned to teach any topic at a university. However, there aren't many now that I feel qualified to teach at least as they relate to direct nursing practice. I'd feel comfortable if not happy in pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, mental health, research methodology, healthcare management, and even informatics classes. However, I have no surgical experience and even in med-surg never had "surg" patients, no OB or baby experience, no intensive care experience, no long-term care experience, and probably less than 20 hours of pediatric exposure. I know almost nothing about "bedside skills," and I am pretty turned off at the possibility of leading a clinical rotation.

I feel like a lot of my college faculty were ok with bedside skills and direct nursing, but most of them were a bit lax in the other stuff, i.e. the stuff I think I could teach.

I realize the above is likely perceived as negative, but do you feel someone as described above (me) would be successful or even welcomed in a university system?



Edited by PG2018


Specializes in Critical Care. Has 16 years experience.

I teach. I have taught at a community college and at private 4-year universities. My background is critical care.

First off, it is very, very rare for an instructor or professor to not do a clinical course. It would be a huge red flag to most Deans if a candidate expressed a strong desire to not teach in a clinical setting.

I was a bit confused, but do you currently work in psych? There is a need for professors to teach mental health nursing. Depending on the size of the program, you may be asked to teach other courses as well. That may include other clinical courses. The prevalent attitude I see is: every nurse should be able to teach Fundamentals and basic lab. The smaller the program, the more you will need to branch out.

PhD is and will always be the terminal degree. If you are teaching for a large, research focused university, the PhD will be needed for tenure. Other programs (community colleges, 4-year colleges without that research focus) will happily accept DNPs. And my opinion is DNP will become the required degree in those institutions very soon. Right now, in many locations, an MSN is all you need to get into a classroom. There is not an overabundance of MSN prepared nurses willing to teach, let alone an abundance of doctoral prepared nurses. Beggars can't be choosers, right?

I am not trying to discourage you, but look at the jobs out there (higheredjobs.com is one site) and what the requirements are. There is a possibility you could find a niche spot. Also, consider being an adjunct where you have more control over what you teach. However, the pay is pathetic.

Good luck!

Edited to add: I am speaking specifically to teaching undergraduates. I do not have experience teaching at the graduate level. I do not know what they would be looking for (besides a doctorate). I will assume they want several years of prior teaching experience.

Edited by random_nurse12

You're going to have a v. hard time getting a teaching job if you say you aren't interested in teaching clinical. Many (most?) programs start out new, inexperienced faculty teaching clinical, and you work your way "up" to didactic/classroom teaching over time (or, at "best," you get hired to do a combination of both). Also, three years of clinical experience (if I'm reading your post correctly) will not make you a particularly competitive candidate.

How determined are you to get a teaching gig, and how willing are you to relocate to do so? If you're willing to move anywhere necessary to get a job, you can probably find one (although it will most likely involve some clinical teaching). If you're determined to stay where you are, you can keep applying to jobs while you accrue more experience. Or, as random noted, you can apply for adjunct positions to get into someplace, although, in my experience, the adjunct positions in nursing schools are typically clinical instructor positions.

Best wishes!