How I Decided to Become A Nurse Practitioner

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!