Check out my guest blog post for HEALTHeCAREERS where I discuss How I Decided to Become A Nurse Practitioner. HEALTHeCAREERS assists nurse practitioners and other health professionals in career placement.
Growing up, I always wanted to become a physician. My father is an ER doctor and at home I was constantly exposed to the medical profession. It sounded exciting, interesting and challenging. Given my bent for science, it seemed the perfect fit.
With the intent of one day becoming a physician, I enrolled at Vanderbilt University, majored in Biology and completed the premed curriculum. At some point during my sophomore year, I began to have doubts about my career choice. The thought of completing four years of medical school followed by years of residency was daunting. I never doubted my work ethic or intellectual ability to complete medical school, but the thought of being a student into my 30’s made me reconsider.
At this point, I began to consider becoming a physician assistant. It seemed like the best of both worlds- a medical career requiring only two years of graduate schooling. Initially, I did not think about becoming a nurse practitioner because I was not pursuing an undergraduate nursing degree. I mistakenly thought the nurse practitioner degree path would take me much longer to complete. Through a friend, I discovered Vanderbilt offered a nurse practitioner bridge program. With the bridge program, I could complete both my RN and MSN degees in just two full years.
Three years after graduation, I can say without a doubt that I made the right choice. As a nurse practitioner, I feel that my life has a balance I would not have as a physician. I have a great job and am able to easily support myself financially while still having time for friends and family. I would highly recommend the nurse practitioner career to those interested in medicine who have similar reservations about becoming a physician.
Are you interested in becoming a nurse practitioner? Nurse practitioner programs are becoming increasingly flexible and offer evening and weekend courses in addition to online courses to accommodate working students. Bridge programs, similar to the one I completed at Vanderbilt, allow individuals without nursing degrees to complete nurse practitioner programs at an accelerated pace. Have questions about becoming a nurse practitioner? Feel free to contact me!