The hospital that I am working at now in Madison, WI has an academic partnership with an Illinois school for a fully online RN to BS completion program. Instead of the typical price per credit hour, they have a deal for us that is one set price per class, no matter how many credit hours it is.
I had planning on going for an RN to MSN program (either family nurse practitioner and then getting the post-master’s Women’s Health NP certificate or straight up Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program) to save time and money, but in the long run, I will save more money if I take advantage of the deal with my current employer and this school, and then do a completely separate MSN, DNP, or PA program.
Physician’s Assistant programs are tempting in that they do not have a set specialty that they are graduating with a degree in, so it’s more open for if I were to ever want to change my focus sometime during my career. Also, PAs can help in operating rooms during surgeries. This sounds pretty good to me.
BUT… as a nurse practitioner, I would be able to practice independently, and not need a physician to sign off on my work, prescriptions, etc. AND… I’d still be a nurse. The one hang-up I’m having about nurse practitioner programs, is that they’re specialized – internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, women’s health, neonatal, so if I were to want to change my focus during my career, I’d likely have to go back for more education and get additional certifications to change my care area.
I’m not yet sure what I will end up doing after the Bachelor’s completion program, I have many options. The world of nurse practitioners is in the middle of some great change where many, of not most of all NP programs are changing from Master’s to DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) so there’s more unknown right now in that field.
I have thought about a more general course of study for an NP degree, like family practice or internal medicine, but then if I want to do only women’s health, the post-master’s certificate programs I have seen are all at least 1 academic year long!
So many things to think about… I am hoping to be able to pursue that dream that I had a while ago where I was a women’s health practitioner (in the dream I was an NP, but either NP or PA) and also had my diabetes educator certification so I could work with families during pregnancies involving diabetes, and general women’s health as well.
If anyone has any thoughts about graduate education – NP, PA, MSN, DNP, etc. please leave me a comment. I’m feeling very lost as to what kind of program I should pursue after I get my Bachelor’s, so any insights would be appreciated.