How I Chose My Nurse Practitioner Program

By ThriveAP Contributor and New NP Student Shabnam Sabur

After years of watching a steamy Noah Wylie on the hit television show, ER, completing my senior year preceptorship in a level II trauma center, and working in a level III Emergency Department for the past year and a half I knew I wanted to become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. I finally decided to take the plunge and applied to several different programs last fall before accepting a position at Emory University in Atlanta for their MSN ENP program.

Getting down to the nitty gritty of it all, I wanted to share with you the criteria I used to pick my dream school and program:

  1. I attended Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, which is about half an hour from my hometown of Mounds View, for my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. While St. Kates is an incredible nursing school, it was my number one goal to really push myself and see if I could gain entrance into a top 20 nursing grad school. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was accepted to Columbia University (ACNP), Duke University (ACNP), the University of Texas Houston (FNP), and Winona State University (ACNP) in Minnesota. With all of those choices, I definitely needed to narrow it down further…
  2. My second goal was to reach outside of my comfort zone. I was born and raised in Minnesota and while I travel often, I have never lived anywhere but there. At this point in my life, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to try something new and have an adventure. That being said, Winona State University was out of the running.
  3. Of the three schools left, Duke University was the only one that offered a fully online program with visits to the school a couple of times a semester. While online learning may benefit some, I just have a difficult time learning and retaining information that way.
  4. The next most important criteria for me was time. I am so excited to become a nurse practitioner, but I didn’t want it to be years of studying on end (that’s part of the reason I chose a Master’s program over a DNP). U of T’s program is a 2 year FNP with the opportunity to apply for an Emergency/Trauma concentration that is taken concurrently with the FNP but requires clinicals to be done after graduation. Columbia’s program is a 2 year Acute Care NP which would require me to take an additional year long post-Master’s FNP if I wanted to be able to practice in an ED. Emory’s program is short and sweet but rigorous; at only 4 semesters or 1.5 years, I couldn’t go wrong!
  5. Biggie says ‘mo money, ‘mo problems but I say ‘mo loans, ‘mo problems (I know, that was lame). While I didn’t want the amount of loans I would have to take out to completely influence my program decision, it definitely played a part. Emory is a private school but living in Atlanta is way cheaper than living in New York City!

What factors most influenced you to choose your NP program?


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