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Starting pre-reqs; advice on becoming a competitive MEPN applicant?

Pre-Nursing   (1,169 Views | 8 Replies)
by librasea librasea (New) New

484 Profile Views; 6 Posts

Hi all! I am half way through my senior year at UCSD as a Public Health major. Sadly, UCSD doesn't offer nursing and it's a bit too late to start a pre-med track now. I've accepted an offer to do Teach for America (something I am passionate about despite seeing myself being a WHNP in the long run). This means I won't even be applying to MEPN or ABSN programs until about 1.5 years from now.

I am starting my first nursing pre-req (physiology + lab) in the spring. I am planning to continue to volunteer in (somewhat) nearby hospital's mother baby unit as well as continue to volunteer for Planned Parenthood's community outreach team.

Any advice on how to become a more competitive MEPN applicant in my last 6 months at UCSD and during my time doing Teach for America? I don't think I'll have the time to continue with a research position (just completed 6 months working as a part time intern on a research study at Scripps).

Besides getting great grades in pre-reqs, speaking to NPs, and possibly doing more in-depth clinical volunteering (although I'd be limited to the weekends, especially while doing TFA), what else can I do?

TL;DR: Fellow career changers that work full time: how do you remain competitive?

Apologies for the life story/rambling and happy holidays!

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roser13 has 17 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

6,504 Posts; 51,310 Profile Views

MEPN = ?

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6 Posts; 484 Profile Views

@roser13 Master's Entry Program in Nursing... I've looked into USD/UCSF/Columbia/etc. I'm also open to an accelerated BSN program like CSU San Marcos'

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Boomer MS, RN has 17 years experience and specializes in Med Surg/ICU/Psych/Emergency/CEN/retired.

510 Posts; 4,628 Profile Views

Hi all! I am half way through my senior year at UCSD as a Public Health major. Sadly, UCSD doesn't offer nursing and it's a bit too late to start a pre-med track now. I've accepted an offer to do Teach for America (something I am passionate about despite seeing myself being a WHNP in the long run). This means I won't even be applying to MEPN or ABSN programs until about 1.5 years from now.

I am starting my first nursing pre-req (physiology + lab) in the spring. I am planning to continue to volunteer in (somewhat) nearby hospital's mother baby unit as well as continue to volunteer for Planned Parenthood's community outreach team.

Any advice on how to become a more competitive MEPN applicant in my last 6 months at UCSD and during my time doing Teach for America? I don't think I'll have the time to continue with a research position (just completed 6 months working as a part time intern on a research study at Scripps).

Besides getting great grades in pre-reqs, speaking to NPs, and possibly doing more in-depth clinical volunteering (although I'd be limited to the weekends, especially while doing TFA), what else can I do?

TL;DR: Fellow career changers that work full time: how do you remain competitive?

Apologies for the life story/rambling and happy holidays!

You sound motivated with specific goals. I did the traditional master's (two years full time) at UCSF but know something about the UCSF's MEPN program. It is competitive to get in and difficult but also very doable. It is a three year program which does not award a BSN after the first year. But you do take the NCLEX and then move on to the specialties for the next two years. Not all specialties offered in the traditional master's programs are offered in UCSF's MEPN program, however. Columbia's program is 15 months long and also awards a master's in nursing, but it is a generalist program. So their program is significantly different. If I'm wrong, I apologize. I believe the USD program is also about fifteen months and a generalist program. I'm going to go out on a limb here and give you some unsolicited advice. Since you are near graduation from UCSD, a very fine institution by the way, I strongly advise you to do an accelerated BSN program. With a BSN, you can apply to any graduate program that offers specialties, and you won't be limited. In addition, many nurses start nursing school with their heart set on one specialty and change their mind.

One drawback to UCSF's MEPN program is the expense. I am in touch with UCSF because of my continued interest in the school and was horrified at the present in-state tuition, both for their MEPN and traditional programs. If you did a program such as Columbia's, you can do a post master's later to specialize. It just seems to me a waste of time and money. Whatever you decide, UCSF has a "frequently asked questions" site that will answer some of your questions.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Good luck!

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6 Posts; 484 Profile Views

Thank you for your feedback!

A second BSN doesn't sound as fancy as a Master's does but it is definitely the cheapest (albeit longest) option to get me to my ultimate goal (NP/DNP). I know it sounds naive but I *really* have my heart set on women's health and no other speciality (besides maybe infectious disease, which isn't that common of a speciality) can hold a candle to it. Planned Parenthood is my ultimate/dream employer. Meaning... I would feel pretty comfortable investing the money into UCSF's Nurse Midwife/Nurse Practitioner MEPN. Plus it's nice that you can work as an RN part time during year 2 & 3 to at least not have to take out a loan for living expenses.

It's just SO competitive. I've been on the UCSF MEPN message board and multiple Ivy Leaguers with 4.0 GPAs and published papers got denied?! I just doubt I can get in to UCSF.

I have an alright GPA (3.7) and have worked/volunteered with underserved communities throughout college but rarely in a clinical setting (like I mentioned in my OP, only for about 6 months). Added to starting full time work in June and teacher credentialing classes, I don't think I will be able to get impressive amounts of clinical experience in the next 2.5 years. Maybe my non-clinical work teaching middle school science in an underserved school will count for something?

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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Moved to prenursing forum

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If you are considering medical school, I would seriously step back and think about it. Nursing will likely not leave you satisfied if you wanted to become a doctor. Becoming a doctor will likely leave you unsatisfied if you REALLY wanted to be a nurse.

Do not choose one based off one or two additional years of school. I assume you are very young (early 20's). It is not "too late" for ANYTHING. I know it feels that way, but trust me, it's not.

I am starting nursing school applications this January, with a hopeful start in Summer. I'll be 28 when I start. I have a few friends who were in their late 20's/early 30's when they started med school. They were very nervous (my one friend is even a mom), but they are all doctors today with likely 30 years of career ahead of them!

Another option is PA school. I urge you to talk to people, shadow people, and talk to some more people at all "levels" in the healthcare realm. Ask them what they love, ask them what they hate. Take everything with a grain of salt (a bitter person is bitter no matter what profession). When I met my husband, he had rocking grades and was studying for the MCAT. He just assumed he would be a DR because he was a bio major, and what else was he going to do with that? Well, after working a year or two as a CNA (he needed hours for the programs he was applying to, and time to get his thoughts together) he decided PA school was better suited to the life that he wanted to live. Being super honest, the long, grueling hours of med school didn't appeal to him. I'm not saying PA school wasn't hard, but it's a good in-between. His career offers flexibility, decent pay, and we have an excellent quality of life all around for it. HOWEVER, in my area, being a nurse would offer MORE flexibility!

I considered medical school when I decided to be a career switcher. After speaking with a lot of people who are doctors, nurses, PA's, and more (there are a LOT of providers to choose from. Example, my stepmom was a nuclear med tech and loved her job), I realized there is so much to being a doctor that I didn't know about or even think about. There is also SO much about being a nurse I didn't ever think about. I urge you to think about it now because it ISN'T too late. You WILL be dissatisfied if you are choosing nursing only because it's "too late".

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Boomer MS, RN has 17 years experience and specializes in Med Surg/ICU/Psych/Emergency/CEN/retired.

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If you are so sure about wanting to go into women's health and to be a CNM, I encourage you to work on your application to UCSF. You have demonstrated that you can handle college courses at UCSD. I am speculating that it is more important that you are volunteering, not that it is volunteering in a clinical setting. UCSF's kind of direct entry program seems to meet your needs. I hope you understand that a BSN is not awarded after the first year. In this specialist program, a BSN is not needed. It is the direct entry programs that award a master's in nursing (the 15-18 month programs) that confound me. Those graduates finish as generalists and new grads, just like any other new grad with no experience. And if those grads want to go on, they have to do post master's work. But to each his own...I have not been on any of UC's message boards but have "heard" that some Ivy Leaguers don't get in. I suspect the school is not looking just at GPAs. Your GPA looks pretty good to me.

I loved my graduate school experience there, as hard as it was for me. The professors were smart, kind, and patient with all of us, as well as being national and international leaders in nursing. If you end up going another route such as an ABSN, you will get experience and more insight into what interests you. Then you could apply to UCSF or any other CNM program. There are other excellent programs in the the US. I was told more than two years ago by the Dean at UCSF that they were starting a DNP program. Another goal for you! I'm going to a function in January for alums and am going to inquire about it. The Dean stepped down in August, and an interim Dean has her hands full.

You're young with many opportunities ahead for you. Keep plugging along...Try your hardest for outstanding grades in A & P.

Best wishes.

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174 Posts; 2,246 Profile Views

I know a few people who've gotten into UCSF MEPN, and yes, they are highly intelligent people, who had the grades, test scores, essays, experience, and personality to be accepted. From what you've told us, I think you are a good candidate (but you should definitely have some backup schools!). Teach for America would be relevant experience because it shows you are capable of working with and knowledgeable about underserved communities. Make sure you get straight A's in your pre-reqs and study hard for the GRE (I think that's what they use). Go for it!

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