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The overwhelming process of choosing an NP program and Return on Investment

Anyone else feel super overwhelmed by this? I hate to say I am looking for an affordable program, but at this point in my career, I am hesitant to saddle myself with huge loans. I just moved to a new state so finding my own preceptors seems nearly impossible. I currently work PRN and I have wanted to go back to school for years. Any advice?

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

If you just moved and work PRN anyway, give yourself a year or a little longer, pick up more shifts (or find another PRN job) and set the additional money aside. It is very realistic to finance 50% or more MSN cost this way (mine was 100% paid by 1 additional shift/week x 1.5 years).

During this year, you'll do your market research, decide what program and what type of program (brick-and-mortar, full online, visiting, combined) you like more, where NPs who are working around you graduated (this is important), find preceptors, get your recommendation letters nice and fresh and settle down your other stuff because school full time + working at least part time means you'll have very little to no life. Things like house repair, big vacations, weddings and such should be done either before school or they likely will have to wait till you are done.

If you are really itching, you can start reading "Pathophysiology" by McCance, as this book is almost universally used by NP schools. It has around 1000 pages, so it will provide you with some entertainment for a while. Or, if you want to go to FNP, AGACNP or AGPCNP and be REALLY cool there, get and read Lange's normal physiology, patho, pharmacology and Microbiology. These books are for medical school but they are really not that difficult to understand and will give your knowledge platform a good boost.

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