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Where should I go from here?

Nurse Beth   (198 Views 1 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

14 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,123 Visitors; 1,753 Posts


Dear Nurse Beth,

I graduated in 2017 with my BSN and worked Maternal/Child until I obtained a position as a Regional Care Coordinator for a state program in WV called Right From the Start. I also was a substitute school nurse on the side. I have always been very academic and community oriented, and although I love my current job- I am hungry for what more I can do. My community is plagued by an opioid and poverty epidemic and I recently sat in on a presentation called "Our Kids Are Not Okay" that really sparked something inside of me. I want to do more, I want to further my education, I think I might want to be a PNP. I want to be a leader in my community, I eventually might want to teach. I love research. I love kids and care about a healthy future. I want to make changes for the better and be involved. 

I guess my question is, where should I start?

My current job is community based. I stay up to date on maternal, infant, and early childhood health and practices. I travel and attend a lot of collaborative meetings. I help implement programs to combat heath issues with our population in WV. 

I really enjoy it, but I do not see any career growth in the future. I decided I would like to start a part-time graduate program while continuing my current job. 

I had considered a PHD or DNP in leadership, because I love research and education. But, I do not have many years experience in the "field" yet. Also, I worry about the money I would put into that degree and the actual demand for it in my area...

I considered PHD because I have a strong science affinity. Science and English have always been my strong subjects. I really enjoy research and "brainwork". 

I think my unique background in maternal/child, school nursing, community health, and early childhood is leading me to Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. WVU offers a BSN-DNP program with FNP or PNP focus. YAY! I love health promotion, disease prevention, growth and development, family dynamics, and education. So I can picture myself as a PNP in a clinic (I love primary care, I want to be in the community). I can even picture myself owning my own clinic one day. My mind is leaping to ideas to address the access to care problems in our rural areas and help our children. 

BUT, I cannot help but wonder about the demand in my area and the ability to get a job as a Primary Care PNP in my area. So now I am trying to talk myself in FNP, so that I would have more opportunities. 

Sorry for all of the rambling! I am trying to figure out where I should go from here and what to do with all of my motivational energy!

From the information I have given you, what all is out there for me?? I know there is more to the nursing world than I know!

Dear Where to Start,

You have a lot of positive energy and your community is lucky to have you. You say there is not much opportunity for growth in the Right from the Start program. Are there nurses in the program in leadership roles, and if so, what degrees do they hold?

You sound multitalented with a lot of interests, and the challenge when choosing a graduate programs  is to channel your passion.

First decide if you want to pursue a clinical or non-clinical path. Research and program administration would be more academic focused (PhD) whereas DNP is a terminal clinical degree. You could also go for your MSN which would prepare you for leadership, healthcare policy, or educator roles.

If you see yourself directly providing care, then explore FNP or PNP. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for PNPs will grow 19% by 2020. An alternative is to get your FNP, and then obtain your PNP certification at a later date.

In your case, it would help to job shadow the different roles. Take your time to decide the best path for you. You may not be ready to commit to a terminal (doctoral) degree at this point. 

While you are contemplating your future, be open to opportunities that present. Often these are signs nudging you towards career paths. Your future is a function of preparation and opportunity.

Nurse BethAuthor, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!


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